"Politico": Tusk among EPP's backup candidates for EU Commission chief
The seemingly unlikely idea of Tusk switching from the European Council to the Commission has been mentioned by some EU diplomats - "Politico" wrote on Tuesday.
"Politico" listed nine possible EPP (European People's party) contenders for the powerful post, with a look at what could help or hurt their chances of getting the job. Donald Tusk can be found at the bottom of the list of the so-called backup candidates to run the Commission, should the most likely candidate Manfred Weber failed to garner enough support.
Officially, Europe's center-right political force is standing by Manfred Weber, its nominee for European Commission president — despite opposition from Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders - wrote the portal.
Among the nine possible names from EPP to take over the EU Commission chief posting, "Politico" mentions chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, former President of Finland Alexander Stubb, chief executive of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, as well as managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.
Further down the list there is the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, German economy minister Peter Altmaier, as well as Croatia's prime minister Andrej Plenković and president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. Nearly all of the those names were being mentioned in the media speculation.
The portal points out the advantages of the potential candidates, such as experience in government or support of particular countries, as well as their disadvantages like age or political obstacles. For instance, in 2021 Barnier will turn 70 so it would hardly be a generation change, whereas the government of Finland, homeland of Stubb, has already put forward another candidate - a social democrat, Jutta Urpilainen.
In reference to Tusk, "Politico" wrote: "as a former prime minister of Poland and the current Council president, he would not face any questions about whether he has experience of high-level executive office — Weber's Achilles heel".
"Although part of the center-right EPP, Tusk has also shown that he can get the backing of the Socialists and liberals. Seven liberal prime ministers explicitly supported him when he was reappointed for a second term two years ago — against the wishes of his arch-rivals in the Polish government," the authors underscored.
The portal reminded at the same time that during a press conference Tusk replied with a simple "no" to a question on whether his name has been added to the list of possible Commission presidents.
"Diplomats say the Tusk option would only be activated in a worst-case scenario — it wouldn't fly at the moment when other candidates are still in the frame, but it could work to break a stalemate if no one can agree on anyone else," "Politico" emphasized.
The portal also mentions that Tusk's critics "accuse him of meddling too much in Polish domestic politics, with a view to resuming his political career there, and say the same thing could happen if he ran the Commission".
EU leaders are set to meet once again at a summit on Sunday (June 30) to once more try to solve top jobs conundrum.