The dust has barely settled on the European elections but already attention is focused on what the new results will mean for the top jobs in Europe and the legislative priorities of the fresh five year cycle.

Under the EU treaties, EU leaders nominate the new President of the European Commission "taking account" of the results of the European elections, and then the parliament accepts the nomination - or not - by an absolute majority. 

That usually meant the political family with the biggest number of seats would get first dibs on the Commission job, with the other jobs being shared out according to a Rubik’s Cube of variables, taking in geography, politics, precedent, gender and so on. 

In 2014 the European Parliament took a novel interpretation of that: political groups would select a lead candidate (Spitzenkandidat) in advance of the elections so voters would feel they had a say in who got to become Commission president. 

Back then the selection of Jean-Claude Juncker by the centre-right European People’s Party wasn’t universally popular among EU heads of government, but a democratic resonance to the process gained some popular momentum, particularly in Germany, where the German-speaking Mr Juncker could take part in TV debates. 

The European Council somewhat grudgingly agreed to nominate him. 

This time round the process has been made murkier by a more fragmented parliament, and the fact that both mainstream parties - the EPP and Socialists (S&D) - have lost around 40 seats each. 

Amid signs that there was going to be a constitutionally prickly stand-off between the parliament and the European Council - ie, heads of government - whose right it was to make the appointment, Donald Tusk, the Council President, some weeks ago announced a dinner of leaders for tomorrow night, less than two days after the votes started to come in. 

This was seen as a way to steal a march on the Parliament, which - it was thought - would still be trying to find its feet so soon after the results. 

EU leaders would start to gather potential names and wrong-foot the parliament. 

All the indications are that Berlin has signalled its discontent with this approach. Now it looks like the Brussels dinner will be a much less decisive affair. 

"The notion of neatly parcelling everything out and having some kind of semi-finished product going in to tomorrow evening is not going to wash," says one EU diplomat familiar with the process. 

Chancellor Merkel is thought to be concerned that this would be an unseemly rush to pre-cook the nominations. At a panel discussion in Brussels this morning Martin Selmayr, the Secretary General of the European Commission, spoke of the need for "democratic patience" in securing the right candidate for the top job. 

This masks continuing tension over who has the legal prerogative to appoint one of the most powerful EU positions. 

One senior EU official insisted: "The European Council cannot guarantee in advance that it will propose one of the lead candidates. There is no automaticity in this process. The treaty is very clear: it is the autonomous competence of the European Council to nominate the candidate, while taking into account the European Elections and having held appropriate consultations." 

President Tusk was also known to be keen that the appointment happened quickly. Officials pointed out that it took three summits and three months to expedite the appointment of Mr Juncker. 

With Brexit overshadowing the transition from one European cycle to the next, President Tusk has been anxious that Europe was not simultaneously involved in a protracted and unseemly scrap over the top jobs. 

In fact, in 2014 EU leaders were having to meet that summer more often due to the euro debt crisis, and those meetings inevitably provided an opportunity to close off the Juncker appointment.

Berlin now appears to think a slowly-slowly approach is better. "This thing is legally tricky," says one senior source. "Is the Council taking account of the Parliament’s position? If you try and run the parliament too quickly it could bite back." 

The parliament is finding its feet, with a clear re-alignment away from the two big centre-right and left blocs, while the Greens, Liberals and far-right have all increased, or reasserted, their presence.

Because the EPP and S&D lost around 80 seats, their automatic claims on the top jobs have lost their lustre.

So they are forced to talk of compromise and broader coalitions. 

These discussions will be framed by the need to freeze out populist and far-right parties, but that narrows the options.

The EPP, of which Fine Gael is a member, has set out its stall early, insisting it is still firmly behind the Bavarian MEP Manfred Weber as spitzenkandidat. 

"We’re very clear," says a senior EPP source. "We want a coalition with Socialist, Liberals and Greens. There are others - independents, even some members of the other political families, people elected on different issues, but who are also pro European." 

Frans Timmermans, the S&D lead candidate instead spoke on Sunday night about forging a "progressive" coalition which could include - according to his rivals on the EPP at least - far-left parties. 

There is a theory that this was a clever gamble to force the EPP to grasp the Fidesz nettle if the centre-right wanted to be included in Timmermans' "progressive" coalition, if by progressive he meant "pro European". 

In other words, he was perhaps signalling to the EPP that the S&D could work with the EPP if they finally ditched the eurosceptic and anti-immigrant members of Viktor Orban’s Hungarian Fidesz party. 

That remains to be seen, but it is a move that Angela Merkel, in her twilight months as head of EPP members the CDU, might just support. 

All eyes, though, are on Emmanual Macron. 

He suffered a stinging if narrow defeat at the hands of Marine Le Pen and her nationalist National Rally party. 

However, he has formally declared for the Liberal group (ALDE), boosting its size to over 100 seats and giving him a kingmaker role. 

Macron has been bluntly dismissive of the spitzenkandidat process, and any notion that Manfred Weber, who has never held ministerial office, has any automatic claim on Mr Juncker’s job, simply because the EPP won the most seats. 

"In our view, Angela Merkel's favourite candidate is totally disqualified today," one of his candidates Pascal Canfin told France Inter radio.

Adding to the pressure over Orban’s MEPs, Canfin said that if ALDE were to agree to any coalition deal with the EPP, it would have to ditch the Fidesz MEPs. 

The success of the Greens will also have to be factored in, if their 67 MEPs are to cooperate along pro-EU lines, both in terms of co-opting the Green agenda and securing a top job. 

All of this explains Berlin’s desire to let the process marinate until the June European Council in over three weeks time. 

Mr Macron has been moving swiftly, however. He appears keen to assume the mantle of leader of the European project once Merkel departs the scene, with intense contacts under way with other EU leaders, and a meeting in Paris tonight with the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez, fresh from a rare socialist victory at EU level. 

He is on manoeuvres, and does not appear to want to let the small matter of defeat in yesterday’s elections to get in the way.