(Bloomberg) -- Italy will be offered the chance to fill a senior role in the next European Commission as centrist parties look to wrap up a deal on the bloc’s top jobs before a summit later this week. 

Leaders from six member states, representing Europe’s biggest political groups, agreed Tuesday to endorse having a candidate chosen by Italy serve as one of the executive vice presidents in the next commission, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

The deal includes nominating Ursula von der Leyen for a second term heading up the EU’s executive arm, and in that capacity she would negotiate with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the people said. It would be up to Meloni to decide who to put forward for the job and von der Leyen to decide on the specific role. 

Giving such a senior post to a candidate chosen by Meloni, whose right-wing group surged in European elections earlier this month, is the smart and rational thing to do, one of the people said. The people all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions.

Major EU leaders have already agreed in principle on the top positions, but Meloni has loudly criticized the appointment process. She argued that since her group emerged among the election winners, she had the right to claim “a top role” for her country. 

Even before the election, von der Leyen has been carefully courting Meloni, including several visits to Italy to discuss migration issues, one of the Italian leader’s top concerns.

The offer of an executive vice president role to Italy is aimed at smoothing the process of filling the EU’s top jobs when leaders gather in Brussels starting Thursday. The role of an executive vice president in the commission structure traditionally involves influence over several key portfolios and oversees the work of several commissioners. 

Support from Meloni is seen as key to avoiding leaders from outside the mainstream coalition stalling an agreement. A meeting of leaders held last week on the topic ended without a formal deal.

The package would see the top jobs divided between the center-right party European People’s Party, the socialists of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the liberals of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa is set to take over the reins of the European Council, the body representing heads of state and governments, while Estonian premier Kaja Kallas would become the bloc’s top diplomat. 

Major EU leaders have already agreed in principle on the top positions, but Meloni criticized the appointment process. She argued that since her group emerged among the election winners, she had the right to claim “a top role” for her country. 

The negotiators agreed Tuesday that the issue that divided them last week — agreeing now on who holds the parliament and council presidencies after the initial 2 1/2 year terms — is to be decided at a later stage, according to the people.

--With assistance from Samy Adghirni.

(Updates with description of the executive vice president role in the seventh paragraph)

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