The Latest: Juncker: filling Europe’s top jobs won’t be easy

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 20, 2019. European Union leaders meet in Brussels for a two-day summit to begin the process of finalizing candidates for the bloc’s top jobs. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the EU summit on the candidates for the bloc’s top jobs (all times local):

2:20 a.m.

European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will have to wait at least one more week before he finds out about his successor at the helm of Europe’s executive arm.

Although he is confident the bloc’s leader can find an agreement on candidates for Europe’s top job on June 30 when they meet again, Juncker does not expect it to be an easy task.

“I don’t expect that. But it has to be done,” Juncker said at a press conference in the early hours of Friday following a day of unsuccessful horse trading at the European Council.

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1:50 p.m.

European Union leaders have failed to reach a deal on candidates for the bloc’s top jobs and have announced a special summit for June 30.

After a full deal of secretive huddles among top leaders, the EU summit ended early Friday without any solution on who will get a half-dozen of coveted top jobs in the 28-nation bloc. 

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said “all the names are still on the table but I am positive we will find a solution next Sunday” June 30.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had said it was better to wait a few more days and continue talks that to make hasty decisions. 

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4:05 p.m.

European Council president Donald Tusk says he is “more cautious than optimistic” ahead of the latest gathering of European leaders in Brussels.

The bloc’s leaders are holding a two-day summit to try and find a consensus over the candidates for the European Union’s top jobs to be filled later this year.

But discrepancies remain on who should get the positions, and nominations could be delayed.

In a message posted on Twitter alongside a picture of him speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Tusk wrote: “Last round of consultations on appointments before the start of #EUCO. Yesterday I was cautiously optimistic. Today I’m more cautious than optimistic.”

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2:45 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the nomination contest for Europe’s top positions isn’t a battle between France and Germany.

Speaking upon arrival at a European Council meeting where EU leaders will discuss possible candidates for the much-coveted jobs, Macron said it would be a “mistake” to transform the meeting into a power struggle between the two countries.

Macron said “I’m not locked up in any specific scheme, and our aim is to make emerge the best team for Europe.”

Macron said he met with several European leaders on Thursday morning, and is holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will also meet with European Council President Donald Tusk before the summit starts later in the afternoon.

EU leaders will to try do decide during the summit who will head the bloc’s key institutions, including the European Commission presidency. Other jobs up for grabs are the EU foreign policy chief, the head of the European Central Bank, the president of the European Parliament and the head of the European Council.

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2:25 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the EU summit starting Thursday might not necessarily succeed in filling all the top jobs at stake, an issue which has divided the 28 member states over the past weeks.

Before bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel said that positions were still so far apart that “it’s possible there will be no result today,” but she said it was no big problem since “we still have a few days left.”

Merkel has come out in favor of German parliamentarian Manfred Weber, but Macron hasn’t backed his candidacy for the job of European Commission president.

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10:10 a.m.

European Union leaders are converging on Brussels for the start of the process to finalize candidates for the bloc’s top jobs who will supervise a sprawl of policy files for at least the next five years.

The EU is responsible for coordinating the 28 member countries’ common policies on sectors ranging from the single market to immigration.

The main posts up for grabs Thursday are the head of the EU’s powerful executive arm, the European Commission, and president of the European Council, which represents the member states. The European Parliament has a say too.

The current European Council president, Donald Tusk, says his many contacts “have shown that there are different views, different interests, but also a common will to finalize this process before” parliament sits on July 2.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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