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Charles Michel wants to ban Ursula von der Leyen from top job talks

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“Member states are increasingly irritated about Charles Michel’s role in the selection process for the Commission President,” one EU diplomat said. “It seems to be driven by purely personal motives.”

All were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the current drama. 

It is up to Michel to decide who can join the dinner with the leaders, given that the June 17 meeting is an informal summit.

There is strong pushback from European capitals against Michel’s suggestion, the diplomats and officials said. The historic rivalry between Michel and von der Leyen plays a key role in the irritation. Several European capitals feel Michel is out to get von der Leyen at the tail-end of their dueling presidencies and years-long rivalry by attempting to thwart a potential second term for the Commission chief. 

“If he wants to eliminate her from the room, he should eliminate himself as well,” one EU diplomat said. | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

In conversations with EU leaders and their aides, Michel has suggested excluding von der Leyen from the meeting because she’s also the lead candidate for the European People’s Party and eyeing a second term as European Commission chief.

Leaders need to agree on the next presidents of the European Commission, the European Council (Michel’s current job) and the European Parliament (although the Parliament votes on its own leadership) as well as the next foreign policy chief. 

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