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Italian former PM could become new president of European Council - FT

Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is considered a potential president of the European Council. 

Italian former PM could become new president of European Council - FT
Photo: Charles Michel

The European Council considers former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to be the main contender for the presidency, having retired from public life in 2022 after his tenure as Italian PM was interrupted by early elections. But last year, he took on the role of EU advisor. The Financial Times reports this with reference to senior European officials.

According to the newspaper, there are likely to be other possible candidates for the presidency of the European Council. However, according to a source close to Draghi, he is not running for a leadership position in the EU.

The urgency of finding a successor to Charles Michel, who will run as a member of the European Parliament, is caused by the possibility of Hungarian leader Viktor Orban taking this position. This will happen if no candidate is agreed upon before Michel steps down.

In addition, EU leaders have the option of appointing an interim candidate to keep Orban out. However, Draghi is unlikely to accept this role on a temporary basis.

In addition to Draghi, current prime ministers such as Pedro Sanchez of Spain and Mette Frederiksen of Denmark are also being considered.

Unlike Draghi, both leaders are affiliated with major European political parties, which is an important factor in EU appointments. Draghi's lack of party affiliation will "hinder him," an EU diplomat told the publication.

The article also states that Central and Eastern European member states have long complained that the highest positions are too often given to Western Europeans.

The year 2024 began in Brussels with the unexpected resignation of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. This announcement caused European officials, leaders of EU member states, and even the Ukrainian government to worry. Why? Because Hungary will hold the presidency of the EU Council this year. And it is likely that the leadership of the institution, albeit temporarily, will go to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a well-known friend of Putin's. At least until the end of December 2024, if the EU does not find a successor to Charles Michel. 

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