June 19, 2019 / 2:15 PM / a month ago

German government official: We're striving for agreement on EU top jobs by July 2

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin is striving for an agreement on who will take the European Union’s top jobs by July 2 - when the new European Parliament convenes - in the hope of avoiding an institutional crisis, a German government official said on Wednesday.

The bloc’s five top executive positions are up for grabs later this year after a continent-wide election nearly a month ago. The vote returned a fragmented EU assembly that has yet to build a majority to endorse a new leadership and agree policy goals for the period to 2024.

The official added that no one in the EU believed that the package of top jobs would be decided against the will of either Germany or France.

EU leaders are due to discuss on Thursday how to appoint the presidents of the European Commission and Council and the European Central Bank president, all of which posts will shortly fall vacant.

The official said that while a solution might not immediately be found, an agreement would definitely have been reached by July 2, when the new European Parliament holds its inaugural session and elects its president - a job that will be included in the new staff package.

Merkel backs the “Spitzenkandidat” mechanism, whereby the candidate that was selected by the winning party ahead of the European elections is appointed to the post of European Commission president.

But others, including French President Emmanuel Macron, do not think that parties’ lead candidates should have an automatic claim on the job.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Riham Alkousaa and Michelle Martin; Editing by Thomas Escritt

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