European Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. After three days of arduous negotiations, European Union leaders broke their top job deadlock Tuesday and nominated German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to become the new president of the bloc's powerful executive arm, the European Commission, taking over from Jean-Claude Juncker for the next five years. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

EU chief tries to sell top job nominees to hostile lawmakers

July 04, 2019 - 2:38 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Council President Donald Tusk is appealing to hostile lawmakers to endorse nominees for the European Union's most coveted senior posts amid accusations that he and the bloc's leaders picked the candidates in shady backroom deals.

Tusk said Thursday that "we managed to make these decisions on time, and actually much more quickly than five years ago. I believe they are good choices."

He said "I feel happy and proud that we have achieved perfect gender balance in the top positions," after two women were named to important posts for the first time.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was nominated as president of the EU's powerful executive arm, the European Commission.

But her candidacy has proved controversial and it remains unclear whether the assembly will endorse her.