Romania vies for EU top job after process thrown into chaos-Media

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis

© APA | Romanian President Klaus Iohannis

# 11 January 2024 11:49 (UTC +04:00)

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is seeking to become the next European Council president, according to people familiar with his plans, vying for the post that will likely be vacated early due to Charles Michel’s unexpected announcement that he’ll run for a seat in parliament, APA reports citing Yahoo News.

Michel’s announcement has thrown the process of allocating the EU’s senior roles — a complicated system that takes into account candidates’ nationality and political affiliation — into chaos, kicking off the inevitable horse-trading months ahead of schedule. Typically, negotiations begin following the European elections, after which the posts of European Commission president, council president and others are selected.

Iohannis’s second term as president ends at the end of the year and he isn’t eligible to run again. He would face an uphill battle getting the job if Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gets a second term since they are both members of the center-right European People’s Party.

A spokesperson from Iohannis’s office declined to comment on the president’s plans.

The European elections take place from June 6 through June 9, adding another complication to the timing of the job reshuffle.

If Michel is elected in June, he could step down from his current role in July, before his term is scheduled to end in November. If there is no agreement on a replacement, the role could be assumed in the interim by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban because his country will be holding the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

The upcoming Hungarian presidency is worrying EU leaders and may become a strong incentive for compromise after the elections, particularly since Orban has been blocking aid for Ukraine. He’s also questioned whether Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine should be called a “war” and was the only EU leader to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin since an international arrest warrant was issued against him for alleged war crimes.

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