Women set to take Europe’s big posts for the first time

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Two women have been nominated for Europe’s top posts for the first time after European leaders agreed to have them take half of four top European Union jobs.

German defense minister Ursula Von Der Leyen emerged as nominee for president of the European Commission while International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, from France, was put forward for the presidency of the European Central Bank.

This followed a marathon set of talks that exposed the continent’s simmering divisions.

Von Der Leyen’s role must be confirmed by a vote in the European Parliament and is set to become the first woman to lead the European Commission.

Lagarde will be the first woman to head the bloc’s central bank.

Outgoing European Council president Donald Tusk called the appointments “a perfect gender balance.”

There were divisions ahead of talks with European leaders divided over the choice of leaders in what French President, Emmanuel Macron, described as sad on Monday.

The nominations may expose the divisions in European Parliament when elections are set.

As part of the deal, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was also elected president of the European Council, to replace Tusk.

Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell Fontelles will be high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

The appointments followed a tense series of negotiations.

Lagarde will temporarily relinquish her duties as managing director of the IMF during the nomination period.

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