The name of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is taken into consideration in Brussels for the seat of European Council president, currently held by former Polish PM Donald Tusk, several political sources have told HotNews.ro for the past several days. They said it was not clear whether President Iohannis was interested in the job, but he was certaintly supported among European officials who have started preparations for accepting Iohannis as Council head.
The Romanian Presidential Administration did not respond when asked by HotNews.ro what the position of the President about a possible candidacy to European Council presidency is
Sources explained: If Michel Barnier, chief Brexit negotiator for the EU, would come to the helm of the European Commission in 2019, the biggest chances to lead the European Council are with Iohannis. The two positions are typically negotiated politically early in advance and the final result should be known somewhere at the beginning of next year, the sources said.
The results of the European Parliament elections have obvious consequence, but not big surprises are expected there with EPP expected to gain ground against the Socialists.
Tusk's term expires in December 2019. The European Council president has a 2.5-year term with an almost automatic extension for a second term. Donald Tusk has been in the job since December 2014.
European affairs experts explained HotNews.ro that nagotiations over the Council president seat take into consideration mainly the name of he who leads the European Commission. If the future head of the Commission comes from Western Europe, then the future president of the Council comes from a ECE country. It is not a written rule, but a custom aimed at keeping a balance within the EU.
Or, from among the current heads of state or government in Central Europe, few are those to qualify for the Council presidency. One would be the president of Lithuania, but it is a small country and Iohannis' advantage would be that he speaks three essential languages fluently: German, French and English.
There have been signs about this in a series of RO-EU contacts over the past sdeveral months.
Romania is expected to take over the EU Presidency in January 2019, which would be another advantage for a Iohannis candidacy.
But, should he accept the candidacy to European Council Presidency, Iohannis should reconsider his candidacy for a new term as Romanian President in 2019.