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New EU leaders and new CULT committee members

On 2 July 2019, the European Council elected the European Council President and proposed the candidates for the three other EU top-jobs, i.e. the President of the European Commission (EC), the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) and the President of the European Central Bank (ECB). Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, was elected President of the European Council and will take office on 1 December 2019 for a two-and-a-half-year term, renewable once. Josep Borrell Fontelles was nominated to be the candidate for the HR/VP post, which requires the agreement of the President-elect of the Commission for formal appointment. The European Council proposed Christine Lagarde, current Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the candidate for President of the ECB, who will be formally appointed in October 2019, following consultations with the European Parliament and the ECB's Governing Council. On 4 July 2019, Italian MP and former journalist, David-Maria Sassoli was elected as President of the European Parliament.   

On 16 July 2019, the proposed European Council’s candidate to the Presidency of the European Commission was elected by the European Parliament. Ursula von der Leyen, former German Defence Minister, who received only 9 votes above the threshold required to be elected, will take office on 1 November 2019. Amid criticisms by MEPs on the complete disregard by the European Council to the Spitzenkandidaten process, von der Leyen, in her Political Guidelines for the Next European Commission 2019-2024, My agenda for Europe, set her priorities in different policy areas, including higher education. She affirmed her commitment to “making the European Education Area a reality by 2025, to improve access to quality education and to enable learners to move more easily between education systems in different countries”. In addition, she is committed to “updating the Digital Education Action Plan” and “supporting the European Parliament’s idea to triple the Erasmus+ budget”.

Also, the members of the EP’s Culture and Education Committee (CULT) were announced. The total number amounts to 31 MEPs, including Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) as Chair, Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA) as first Vice-Chair, Dace Melbarde (ECR, LV) as second Vice-Chair, and Julie Ward (S&D, UK) as third Vice-Chair. The fourth Vice-Chair will be elected in September.

European Council – Press Release

European Parliament – Press Release

European Parliament – Press Release CULT