European Union leaders failed to agree at a summit on Wednesday on sharing out a package of top jobs in the 28-nation bloc, including a new foreign policy chief, and postponed the decision until late August.
Matteo Renzi
© Reuters/Scanpix

The talks foundered over opposition to Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini's candidacy for the foreign policy role and demands by central and east European leaders that the job should go to someone from their region, diplomats said.

Mogherini, 41, began the day as front-runner but Poland and Baltic states voiced misgivings about her inexperience and her emollient attitude towards Russia since its annexation of Crimea in March.

But the Italian premier said none of the other EU member states had vetoed the decision of Mongherini's candidature.

"We have been here for 57 years and we have never vetoed anyone, and we never had to withstand it (veto), not even today. If this was your question, then this is my answer," Matteo Renzi told reporters at the end of the summit.

Meanwhile, the leaders did agree to step up sanctions against Russia over separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, shortly after Washington also tightened the screws.

The EU will expand sanctions against Russia to target companies that undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and will ask the EU's European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to suspend new lending.

Shrugging off criticisms of Italy's reluctance to impose EU sanctions on Moscow, Renzi told media the country was on the same "position" as other European member states.

"Italy is on exactly the same position as other EU states," Renzi said.

"The point is that, if anyone has a doubt about Italy's political stance, let it be known that it is indeed the same as the other member states. Therefore those who call into question Italy, are also calling into question France, Germany, Great Britain, the G7. All the documents that we have drafted, we have drafted them together," he added.

Reuters
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Lithuanian argmin to discuss post-Brexit agriculture funding issues in Austria

Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Giedrius Surplys will on Monday attend an informal meeting of EU...

Lithuanian president calls for avoiding chaotic Brexit

Attending an informal meeting of EU leaders on Thursday, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė...

Lithuania proposes to create single set of external border standards in EU

President Dalia Grybauskaitė presented Lithuania's initiative to introduce a single set of external...

Europe needs lasting solutions to counter illegal migration - president Grybauskaitė

The European Union remains the center of attraction for economic refugees seeking a better life...

Lithuanian president, EU leaders to discuss Brexit, migration in Salzburg

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving for the Austrian city of Salzburg where she will...