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European leaders are in Brussels deciding who will lead the European Union for the next five years. They’ve been bickering about the candidates since the election in May. Here is what the key players want.
In German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ideal world, Jean-Claude Juncker would take the top EU job. The former prime minister of Luxembourg is a Brussels veteran and shares Merkel’s views on closer cooperation and stricter discipline within the troubled eurozone block. But the opposition against Juncker is growing. Some leaders like the British Prime Minister David Cameron reject him as too federalist.
UK's David Cameron is facing a tough situation at home. The Conservative Party suffered losses in the European election, losing votes to the euroskeptic UK Independence Party led by Nigel Farage. Cameron said he would renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership in the EU. He also promised to hold a referendum in which voters will be able to decide whether they want UK to stay in the Union -- but only if he can win the general election next year. Cameron now needs to convince rebels within his party that he can deliver on these promises.
Poland, the largest of the most recent batch of member states, has put forward Radoslaw Sikorski as a candidate for the EU's top diplomatic job. The Polish foreign minister could replace Catherine Ashton as the foreign representative of the Union. Sikorski has the support of most of the new member states in central and eastern Europe, as well as the Baltic states. If appointed, it would mark the first time a key European post had gone to a politician from a new member state.
The European election gave a boost to anti-European and nationalistic parties like the National Front in France and UKIP in the UK. Under new rules, the European Parliament gets a say on the candidates put forward by the EU leaders. Although the anti-EU protest parties do not have enough power and unity to put forward their own candidate, their voice is strong enough to block those they dislike.