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The Debate

Fair deal? EU top jobs forged by Franco-German compromise

In the end, it was a good old-fashioned Franco-German compromise that broke the deadlock on top jobs for the incoming five-year session. The presidency of the European Commission went to Angela Merkel's own defence minister; the head of the European Central Bank to the French boss of the International Monetary Fund. And the rest? A delicate political balancing act between nations and political blocs.

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We ask our panel about Ursula von der Leyen and Christine Lagarde, and about the workings of the EU, a political project that answers to citizens in a transnational parliament and to 28 individual heads of state. Emmanuel Macron led the charge against the German-backed principle of Spitzenkandidaten, lead candidates like Weber that represent the voting blocs that get the most seats in EU elections. After the Brexit vote, eurosceptic populists are questioning the Commission's right to challenge rule of law violations in eastern Europe or budget overruns in Italy. How legitimate is the new lineup?

Produced by Andrew HILLIAR, Juliette LAURAIN and Ingri BERGO

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