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Reinfeldt a 'dark horse' for EU president job

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Reinfeldt a 'dark horse' for EU president job
14:17 CET+01:00
With reports emerging over the frontrunners for the permanent position of EU president, a new contender has emerged in the international media in the shape of Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Reinfeldt has already downplayed speculation in the Swedish media linking his name to the new position of president of the council of EU leaders.

Referring to next year's general election he has told journalists at home that he “has a meeting with voters in the autumn of 2010, and he doesn't intend to miss it.”

However, this denial of interest hasn't quite reached the international media who have since touted his name among the top list of contenders for the job, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

The successful candidate is expected to be announced soon and the position will come into force once the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified by all 27 EU states.

The Czech Republic - the only country not to sign – is showing signals that it will comply in the coming weeks.

The full-time president will serve a two-and-a-half-year term, strengthening the current rotating system of a six-month presidency, of which Sweden is currently at the helm.

The international media points to the fact that Reinfeldt has impressed his peers in the role, significantly over climate change issues ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December.

A recent article in the New York Times touted Reinfeldt's name in its list of top contenders.

Meanwhile, news agency Reuters described him as a ”potential compromise candidate after winning praise from EU diplomats for Sweden's presidency of the EU.”

And a recent blog posting by journalist Paul Waugh of the London Evening Standard stated Reinfeldt was in contention by default.

”With Blair and Juncker polarising opinion, most received wisdom is that Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is the man who could emerge as the compromise choice,” he wrote.

”But amid fears that the Dutch government would then collapse - Reinfeldt could be the dark horse.”

Waugh added that his own political sources had also tipped Reinfeldt for ”displaying exactly the skills needed by a new European Council president.”

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