No top job in the EU for CEE?

It seems none of the 3 top EU jobs will go to CEE region. I could change in the last minute, but it is not very realistic. Should the CEE region learn some lesson out of it, or maybe it is not so important? Read few comments.

Diāna PotjomkinaResearch Fellow, Latvian Institute of International Affairs

I am sure that the distribution of top jobs within the EU should reflect the differences within the Union, including the so-called “old” and “new” member states. The CEE can actually offer highly qualified and experienced candidates, not speaking about the fact that e.g. Poland has already become a key German ally, rivaling France in this position. Despite the consequences of the crisis, the CEE is still dynamic and growing. Thus, more work needs to be invested on all sides in order to reach a geographically balanced EU team.

Igor Merheim-EyreProgramme Coordinator, Global Europe Centre, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

Personally, I think it’s too early to conculde that the CEE countries will be left empty-handed in the current search for the next Commission President, President of the European Council and the High Representative. Much, however, will depend on the bargaining on Friday’s European Council meeting. Whilst Juncker’s position as Commission President is becoming increasingly more secure, it is possible that Germany and other states will try to accommodate Britain’s concerns by finding candidates for the other two posts around whom they can create a consensus.

This is not to suggest that it will be a Brit (which is unlikely), or that Radek Sikorski will no longer be considered for becoming the next EU diplomatic chief. Many commentators seem now to think that Sikorski is out of the race because of the wire-tapping scandal in Poland. In fact, this is not really the case and they have failed to see that the wire-tapping, despite its wide coverage, has had little actual political knock-on effect outside Poland.

In EU negotiations, bargaining and compromise is everything. Therefore, one should never exclude any possibility. Even if Sikorski fails, there is still the Bulgarian Commissions for Humanitarian Aid, Kristalina Georgieva ( potentially a real dark horse in this race), and Miroslav Lajcak is still talked about in some circles. I do not see any potential candidate from Central and Eastern Europe for the post of European Council President, but the High Representative post is still within a grasp. Given the voting weight of the Visegrad Four alone, the CEE states are hardly pawns for the western Member States in the negotiations. The key however, is alliance-building.

Vihar GeorgievAssociate Professor, European Studies Department, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

Representative. She may become a compromise figure that is acceptable for all major Member States. Of course, there are other names being discussed in an attempt to balance nationality, gender, age, among the top jobs. In any case CEE Member States have been relatively passive with the exception of Poland. But the wiretaping scandal and especially leaked conversations with Mr. Sikorsky will diminish Poland’s bargaining position.

Dániel Hegedüs, Associate Fellow, Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik

I do not necessarily agree with you. Sikorski is still the most possible candidate as Ashton’s successor  and Kristalina Georgieva is also often mentioned in connection with this post.  The current taping scandal can undermine a bit the polish position, as well as the country’s involvement in the Ukrainean crisis and its hard positions vis-á-vis Russia too, but anyhow, as consequence of the growing importance of Poland on the European stage it would be hard to allow it that Poland leaves the stage as a looser in the game.  And Warsaw officially nominated Sikorski for the post, so they are in the ring.

Concerning the other Visegrad countries, they could not rise their image and PR like Poland could do it during the recent years. Slovakia is simply invisible. The other countries – inclusive Poland – share the burden of being second class member states as not acceded to the Eurozone until know. The Europe-friendly integration politics of the new Czech government could not reshape the reception of the country’s EU-politics until now. And Budapest’s positions are hopeless as consequence of Orbán’s madness and permanent confrontation course. I am curious, whether Hungary will vote tomorrow together with Cameron or will abstain. But this situation alone shows, how isolated Budapest and how “flexible” Hungarian European policy is. So, in nutshell, we will see, what Poland can achieve. The chances of Warsaw are not the worst and if Sikorski will be successful, it can reshape the whole picture. Prague and Budapest should do their homework at first and convince the partners that they are part of the solution and not of the problem. And finally, Bratislava should make itself more visible.

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