Media: Romania’s president, in the cards for European Council presidency

Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis is being considered for the position of president of the European Council, local Hotnews.ro reported.

If Michael Barnier, the chief European Commission negotiator on Brexit, becomes the head of the European Commission in 2019, Klaus Iohannis has the highest chances to become president of the European Council, political sources told Hotnews.ro.

It is not yet clear if Iohannis is interested in the position, the same sources said. Contacted by Hotnews.ro, the Presidential Administration did not comment on the issue.

The mandate of Donald Tusk, the current president of the European Council, ends in December 2019 when Iohannis also reaches the end of his first mandate as President of Romania.

The president of the European Council may not hold a national office at the same time. This means that Iohannis would have to reconsider running for a new mandate as the country’s president.

Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, is among the other candidates for the European Council president position.

Several clues point to the interest for Iohannis, who speaks German and English.

During his most recent visit in Brussels, at the end of January, Iohannis met with members of the College of Commissioners. This is a rare event for a head of state or government, sources told Hotnews.ro.

During the same Brussels visit, Iohannis spoke on the issue the Spitzenkandidat, the lead candidate for the European Commission president job. Iohannis supports the idea that the future EC president is the lead candidate of the political group with most votes at the European Parliament elections.

Another signal that Iohannis is being considered is that Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, proposed last year that a post-Brexit European summit take place in Sibiu, the city where Iohannis hails from and where he served as a mayor for more than 10 years.

Another aspect working in favor of Iohannis is that Romania is set to hold the presidency of the EU Council beginning January 2019.

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