New EU Leadership Aims to Strike a Balance

New EU Leadership Aims to Strike a Balance
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, holds the hands of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, left, and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 30, 2014 (AP photo by Yves Logghe).

Over the weekend, the European Union announced appointments to two of its top posts. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will take over the post of president of the European Council, replacing Herman Van Rompuy when his term expires in December, and Italian Foreign Minister Frederica Mogherini will replace Catherine Ashton as EU high representative for foreign policy.

The appointments of “a Kremlin critic from ex-communist Eastern Europe and the foreign minister of one of Moscow's biggest customers for gas,” as Reuters put it, is emblematic of the steps the EU has taken to balance divisions among its members.

As I wrote last month:

The debate over the selection of the next EU foreign policy chief highlights the east-west divide that has existed since the bloc’s 2004 enlargement, when 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe joined the EU.

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