Giorgia Meloni Rejects EU Top Jobs Deal After Talks Snub

Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s Prime Minister, expressed visible frustration after being excluded from a small group of EU leaders discussing top appointments. This snub could further complicate efforts to secure a swift agreement on the bloc’s future leadership and priorities, according to officials involved in the talks.

Image: Giorgia Meloni / Instagram
Image: Giorgia Meloni / Instagram

During a private dinner on Monday evening, the EU’s 27 leaders discussed a potential deal to nominate Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as European Commission president. This was alongside three other top appointments reflecting the results of the European Parliament elections. The mood soured due to a preceding closed-door meeting involving six national leaders from the EU’s three largest political parties: the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), and Renew.

Meloni, who leads the hard-right European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, which finished fourth in the elections, was particularly upset by her exclusion. “The strongest reaction was probably the one expressed by Giorgia Meloni; very firm, very tough, to criticize those negotiations among the three political families,” said a senior EU official involved in the negotiations.

Meloni criticized French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain for making her wait while they finalized a deal that was then presented as a fait accompli. “We will not accept a pre-packaged agreement,” Meloni told reporters afterward.

Renew, led by Macron’s party, has claimed the post of EU top diplomat, likely going to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. This position could be contested by Europe’s hard right if Marine Le Pen’s Identity and Democracy (ID) group teams up with Meloni’s ECR, potentially adding 11 MEPs from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party. Such a “supermerger” would make them the third-largest force in the European Parliament.

Decisions in the EU are made by a qualified majority, meaning leaders could theoretically finalize the deal at the next summit without Meloni or Orbán, who also protested the exclusion. However, officials fear isolating Meloni could embolden her to align with Le Pen, potentially disrupting other decisions.

While Meloni has so far kept Le Pen at a distance, some members of ID are still pushing for a Eurosceptic supergroup. “The three political parties made a strategic choice. They decided to show [Meloni] is isolated. This is a power play,” the senior official said. “Do we want a total battle with the risk that the European Council will be blocked?

A lot of goodwill was lost during the Monday night talks, complicating von der Leyen’s efforts to secure a parliamentary majority for her second term. Von der Leyen needs 361 votes in the 720-strong assembly. With EPP’s strong showing, a majority can be reached with S&D and Renew, who now command 406 seats, no longer needing ECR votes.

Meloni, despite her strengthened voter base compared to Macron or Scholz, has not become the power player she anticipated. “It is always the big three groups that negotiate. The election result showed the big three have a majority,” said a party official from another group.

Scholz reiterated his stance against relying on rightwing populist parties, a veiled reference to Meloni. According to people involved, the German chancellor insisted on excluding Meloni and the ECR from negotiations. Both S&D and Renew have pledged not to negotiate with Meloni, considering her too far right. “If the coalition is broadened, it should be to the Greens, not the ECR,” said Giacomo Filibeck, secretary-general of the S&D. The Greens, despite losing heavily, still have 52 seats and are open to joining a governing coalition at the EU level for the first time. The exclusion of Giorgia Meloni from critical EU discussions has not only highlighted the divisions within the bloc but also raised concerns about future negotiations and decision-making processes. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining how these political dynamics unfold and what compromises, if any, will be made to achieve a consensus.


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