President Klaus Iohannis might succeed Donald Tusk at the helm of the European Council. The information has been made public by Hotnews.ro on Friday, quoting several political sources.
The sources say it’s not clear if President Iohannis is actually interested in this position, however he most certainly would enjoy the support from European officials, some of them allegedly have already started to lobby for his position as President of the European Council.
“If Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator for Brexit, will be the head of the EC as of 2019, most chances are for Klaus Iohannis to take over the European Council Presidency,” the sources say.
Hotnews.ro mentions that the two offices are usually politically negotiated in advance and the results of negotiations might be known sometime at the beginning of next year.
The result of elections for European Parliament is decisive, nevertheless, no surprises are expected, as the EPP would probably gain ground against the socialists.
According to this information, the head of state would take over the position currently occupied by Donald Tusk. The former Polish Prime Minister ends his term in 2019, the same year when Klaus Iohannis will end his first term at the Cotroceni Palace. Donald Tusk has taken over the first term in office in December 2014.
Specialists have told hotnews.ro that this office is negotiated mainly in regard to the name of the person to take over as President of the European Council. If the next president of the European Commission will be from Western Europe, then the future president of the Council will be from one of the central or eastern European countries. It’s not a written regulation, yet a custom meant to offer balance within the EU.
The sources say that currently there are rather few names who could take over the office. “Among these few is the Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, very well known and appreciated by the Council, due to the ten years in the head of state office,” the sources said. However, Lithuania is a small country and the sources quoted by Hotnews say that one advantage the Romanian president has, is the fact that he speaks fluently the three basic languages of the European Union: German, French and English.
The sources point to the fact that, during his last visit paid to Brussels, President Iohannis had a meeting with the College of Commissioners, an event seldom taking place for presidents and heads of governments. Furthermore, Iohannis later said, after meeting EC President Jean Claude Juncker, he supports the idea that the next EC head should be ‘Spitzencandidat’ of the main political group in the European Parliament in 2019, the same option as Juncker’s, who supports Michel Barnier.
Juncker proposed, in September 2017, that a European summit takes place in Sibiu, one day after completing the Brexit, seen as a c sign of ourtesy for Iohannis’ possible candidacy to the European Council.
On the other hand, Romania will take over, in the first half of 2019, the rotating presidency of the European Council.
The mandate of President of the European Council is two and a half years long with an almost automatic extension for the second term.
The information presented by Hotnews.ro has not been confirmed by the Presidential Administration.