Chancellor Angela Merkel is slightly optimistic at the start of the resumption of the EU summit. She radiates new rounds, new opportunities. She is on her way to series of meetings, with new plans in her pocket and especially new names. Business as usual. Or at least we have to pretend it is.

Among the Christian Democrats, there is disappointment in Merkel. The young generation of leaders told her the night before that the largest party cannot just give away the most beautiful post in Brussels, that of the Commission President, to a social democrat.

The agreement that their top candidate Weber will be President of the European Parliament and Social Democrat Timmermans President of the European Commission has been dismissed by leaders such as Irish Prime Minister Varadkar. A rebellion against women who have dominated European politics for years.

Dutch prime minister Rutte calls it the new reality for himself. He has been on the road with a double mission in recent weeks. He wants Frans Timmermans and he wants a liberal in an important post. He notices that it is difficult. The division among the Christian Democrats (the EPP) is enormous.

The power party of yesteryear, who could determine what happened in the EU, almost fights the streets. Rutte constantly counts the votes and has two numbers in his head. 21 countries must be for Timmermans and they must also represent 65% of the EU population.

On Monday morning, Rutte realizes that it is still too risky to get Timmermans to vote with the government leaders. If he is voted out, his candidacy is completely gone. The meeting was suspended early in the afternoon in the hope of finding a compromise and gathering more support for Timmermans.

But Berlin and Paris are not standing still either. Merkel is disappointed that she has lost control and calls President Macron. She wanted a candidate who had participated in the elections, preferably her own Manfred Weber, but she could also live well with Timmermans. Macron wants to help and proposes to approach a new German candidate, preferably a woman. And so in the course of Monday in telephone conversations between Paris and Berlin an appointment is made about the German defense minister, the 60-year-old Ursula von der Leyen.

The Social Democrats are still in good spirits on Tuesday morning, but during the course of the day the Commission presidency seems to slip through them like a glove.

Anger arises when reports appear that more than ten countries are against Timmermans. They also counted in Timmermans’ camp, but they come to far fewer opposers. Donald Tusk the President of the European Council and his negotiators are making a mess of it, it sounds. Tusk is not in good shape at all, according to several sources. He does not summarize conversations well, so that leaders return to their words later. Some call it light chaotic and not helpful.

It is also surprising that Tusk wants to arrange a whole package, in which all important posts are distributed in one fell swoop. The core of the agreement was that Weber would become the president of the parliament and Timmermans would get the commission. But the political back cover is not hard and so Tusk continues.

Poland and Hungary seize their opportunity. They are actively campaigning against Timmermans and are definitely refusing to work with him. When Macron comes up with the name of the German defense minister, the Hungarians immediately jump on the bus. The government spokesman triumphantly says that they not only have Weber, but Timmermans also ‘cold served’.

Rutte can’t do much about it. “It is strange. The man is just doing his job, but it is just like with the disease that does not go away, then you send the doctor who treats the disease away. That does not help”, referring to Timmermans’ fight against violation of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary.

The grapes are sour at the European Parliament. Around noon the news reaches the various groups there. The Christian Democrats realize that there cannot be two Germans in the most important top positions. Manfred Weber knows that the moment he feared is near when the call comes from Donald Tusk to the group asking if they can live with Ursula von der Leyen. Not everyone is enthusiastic, but most Christian Democrats are pragmatic and realize that the struggle of their top candidate is lost.

The Social Democrats are just releasing all the backstops. “Unacceptable”, it sounds there. What it is worth shows in two weeks. Then the vote in the European Parliament is on the nominated new Commission President. First, they will vote on their own chairman on Wednesday: the 751 politicians are completely up to it.

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