European Unions leaders have formally agreed on German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as their nominee to be the next president of the European Commission.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, will be nominated for president of the European Central Bank.

The High Representative for Foreign Policy will go to Socialist MEP Josep Borrell, while Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has been proposed as President of the European Council.

Manfred Weber, the German MEP who was initially voted as the lead candidate, by the centre-right European People's Party, has announced that he is no longer a lead candidate for any top position.

Ms Von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will need to be approved by a simple majority of the European Parliament.

Ms Lagarde has announced that she would step down from the IMF following her nomination to lead the ECB.

In a post on Twitter she said: "I am honored to have been nominated for the @ECB Presidency.

"In light of this, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee of the IMF Executive Board, I have decided to temporarily relinquish my responsibilities as IMF Managing Director during the nomination period."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the nomination of Ms Von der Leyen as Commission President, and the other top job nominations, was "a very good outcome overall for Ireland and Europe".

Mr Varadkar said he was confident Ireland would enjoy the same solidarity from Ms Von der Leyen as it had from the outgoing Jean-Claude Juncker on the Brexit issue.

He told reporters: "She's somebody who is from the CDU in Germany, somebody who is part of the political family [the European People's Party] which I belong to with Fine Gael, somebody who is part of a group of people who have always stood by Ireland through these issues.

"So I'm confident that the solidarity we've had from Jean-Claude Juncker will continue under the new Commission, assuming she is ratified by the European Parliament."

The Taoiseach said the so-called Spitzenkandidat, or lead candidate, idea would have to be reviewed following the rejection of the two main lead candidates, Manfred Weber from the EPP and Frans Timmermans from the Socialists and Democrats.

He described the new President of the European Council, Charles Michel, as a "friend" and a "friend of Ireland".

Mr Varadkar said that as Belgian Prime Minister he understood Brexit because his country, like Ireland, was affected by it.

He described incoming Ms Lagarde as "someone whom we know very well in Ireland" and hailed the fact that for the first time there were two women filling the posts of Commission President and President of the ECB.

The Taoiseach said he was confident Ms Von der Leyen would be able to fill the role of Commission President when it came to Brexit.

"And of course, Michel Barnier will continue his role as Brexit negotiator for the foreseeable future," he said.

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