independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Le Monde says Kenny 'well positioned' for EU job

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is again being linked with a top post in the EU next year.

Mr Kenny is described as "discreetly" positioned to take over the powerful position as head of the European Commission.

During the summer, the Irish Independent revealed Mr Kenny was being tipped as a frontrunner to take over as EU chief when the posts come up next year. Now, the renowned French newspaper, 'Le Monde', is also linking the Taoiseach with the post of European Commission President.

France's paper of record lists Mr Kenny and Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen as being "discreetly positioned'' in the race to be next Commission President.

However, the newspaper says Mr Kenny cannot afford to launch a "laborious campaign" for the post as it could damage his position at home.

'Le Monde' claims governments headed by Fine Gael's grouping in the EU, the EPP, plan to stop the European Parliament's ambitions to make its president Martin Schulz take the top job.

Mr Kenny was already linked with two top positions in the European Union in an analysis of the contenders by an influential Brussels-based opinion-shaper.

The Taoiseach is viewed as a front-runner for the powerful post of European Council president, as he is seen as "capable, but not a big name with an ego".

The European Council president chairs the meetings of EU leaders where all the major decisions are made.

The post is up for grabs in December 2014.

SHOT

And Mr Kenny has an outside shot for European Commission president, the head of the EU cabinet, which becomes available next June.

The Taoiseach's name is being mentioned following the success of Ireland's EU presidency, where he "impressed in his handling of the EU budget negotiations".

The front-runners for the elite posts are identified by Burson-Marsteller, one of Europe's leading public affairs and communications consultancy firms.

Mr Kenny was at the top of their list of potential candidates, along with the prime ministers of Finland and Denmark and former prime ministers of Finland, Denmark and Spain.

The centre-right European People's Party – Fine Gael's group in Europe – will have a strong say in the carve-up of top European posts, a process which is deeply politicised.

The Taoiseach has been attending meetings of EU leaders in the EPP since he became Fine Gael leader in 2002, granting him high-level access to decision-makers.

He is now one of the longest-serving members of the group and has built up a strong relationship with many of the leaders. Mr Kenny will also host the EPP European elections conference in Dublin next year.

Irish Independent

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