Saturday 18 November 2017

Taoiseach will have to clarify stance soon

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is displaying no interest in becoming president of Europe. But he's going to have to rule himself out at some point soon from becoming president of the European Commission or president of the European Council.

Kenny is not short of admirers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is understood to have him on her shortlist for a post.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is also believed to have Kenny in mind as he sees him as somebody who understands the fragile and fractious UK relationship with Europe.

Cameron's view of Kenny as an acceptable face at the top of the table extends to the Continent too, where the Taoiseach would potentially be agreeable to both northern and southern Europeans.

The Taoiseach has not been asked directly about a move, but he can't have missed the speculation surrounding his name since the transformative success of Ireland's EU presidency.

During the summer, the Irish Independent reported the Taoiseach was being tipped as a frontrunner to take over as EU chief, when the powerful positions come up next year.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said yesterday that Kenny's name did come up quite a bit and that he was in the "top three or four" leaders being talked about in Brussels in connection with the jobs.

Nonetheless, Varadkar doesn't believe Kenny intends taking up any potential offer. "I have never heard him say to me that he was willing to pack up the bags and take the family to Brussels," he said.

The sentiment is echoed by those around Kenny, who say his ambitions extend to getting the country out of the bailout and winning the next general election.

"He has never expressed an interest or a desire for this," one source said.

Irish Independent

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