efe-epaBrussels

Three days of negotiations in Brussels among the governments of the European Union member-states culiminated Tuesday in the nomination of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to serve as president of the European Commission.

Charles Michel, currently prime minister of Belgium, was tapped as president of the European Council.

Spain's acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, is the nominee for the post as foreign policy chief, while Christine Lagarde of France, now managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was put forward to become head of the European Central Bank.

The nominations of Von der Leyen, 60, and the 72-year-old Borrell are subject to confirmation by the European Parliament.

In the case of Lagarde, 63, the parliament has only a consultative role.

Von der Leyen and Lagarde would be the first women to hold the positions of commission president and ECB chief, respectively.

The European Council, comprised EU heads of government, has sole authority to name its president, so Michel, 43, faces no hurdles to becoming the successor to Donald Tusk of Poland.

With a failure to agree on who should preside over the European Parliament, member-states decided to make Bulgarian social democrat Sergei Stanichev speaker for the first half of the legislature, to be followed by German conservative Manfred Weber in the second.

The commission president and foreign policy coordinator each serve for five years, while the council presidency comes with a renewable 2 1/2-year term.

Lagarde, if confirmed, will lead the ECB for eight years.

Von der Leyen will succeed Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel is to take the place of Poland's Donald Tusk, Borrell will step into the shoes of Italian politician Federica Mogherini and Lagarde will take baton at the ECB from Mario Draghi of Italy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a post-meeting press conference that Dutch former foreign minister Frans Timmermans will remain as first vice-president of the European Commission, while Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager of Sweden is to bear the initial title of second vice president.

The chancellor revealed that Germany had abstained in the vote on Von der Leyen because the Social Democrat component of the coalition government in Berlin opposed the nomination of the conservative. EFE

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