Monday 19 August 2019

Varadkar tells Tusk 'he is not a candidate for EC presidency, does not want to be considered'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Pool
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Pool
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told Donald Tusk that he is not a candidate for the European Commission presidency and does not want to be considered.

Mr Varadkar informed the European Council president of his position last night in Brussels amid reports that the Taoiseach’s name was being tested by Mr Tusk in a round of bilateral meetings with EU leaders aimed at breaking an impasse over who will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Financial Times reported that Mr Tusk was holding bilaterals with every EU leader and was testing three names from the European People’s Party (EPP) including Mr Varadkar, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, a former European commissioner.

But an Irish government source said that Mr Varadkar had told Mr Tusk "he’s not a candidate and doesn’t want to be considered". Last week the Taoiseach poured cold water on suggestions he could be in line for the top EU job.

"I have a job, it’s as Taoiseach of Ireland.  I’m loving the job. I’m only getting started, I hope, so I’ve no plans for a career change at this stage," he said.

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