Brussels : European leaders worked through a long night of furious debate Monday as a bid to find compromise on Brussels’ top jobs ran into stiff opposition.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Brussels after developing a plan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Under the “Sushi deal”, the 28 EU leaders would nominate Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans as president of the European Commission, rather than his conservative rival German MEP Manfred Weber. Weber would instead be put forward for election as speaker of the European Parliament, while a liberal candidate would become president of the EU Council of national leaders.

 

 But, when Merkel put this to fellow centre-right leaders in the European People’s Party (EPP), several rebelled, and the main summit was delayed as heads of government shuttled between side meetings until dawn broke.

The leaders began a working dinner almost three hours late, only for the summit to be suspended an hour later to allow host EU Council president Donald Tusk to consult leaders individually.

Tusk’s office tweeted the summit would resume “once bilaterals completed”, but six hours later they were still underway, with the former Polish premier trying to get conservatives back on board.

Before the summit, but after the leaders from the centre-right group met, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic warned: “There is no support for what circulated in media today.”