BRUSSELS - Almost a full day after sitting down to pick candidates for the European Union's prime political posts, weary EU leaders broke off their talks Monday amid deep divisions over who should run the European project for at least the next five years.
After a full night of one-on-one meetings, trilateral talks, and group discussions — including sitting down over breakfast — EU Council President Donald Tusk called a halt, and said the summit should reconvene at 1100 local time (0900 GMT) on Tuesday. French President Emmanuel Macron lamented the meeting as a “failure,” and said the summit “gives an image of Europe that is not serious” due to the stalemate. This failure, he said, should lead to “deep changes” to how the EU operates.
Already beset by crises over Brexit and damaging infighting over how best to manage migrant arrivals, the EU's 28 leaders had been keen to show there is still life in the European project with quick decisions on a series of top-notch nominations for what are key portfolios.
But their failure, yet again, to agree on any names highlights Europe's changed political landscape following May's elections to the European Parliament, which saw the two historically dominant center-right and -left groups lose seats to the far-right and populists, as well as to pro-business and pro-environment parties.
Rather than make Europe more efficient, the results seem to have complicated matters further. “It will continue,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters after the summit broke off, and leaders left, many without saying much to reporters.
“It's a bit complicated,” he said, after more than 17 hours of official deliberations, plus hours of sideline meetings.
No news conference are planned to explain exactly how the summit had broken down.
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