Varadkar 'flattered' by links to top EU job but has 'no plans for a career change'

Varadkar 'flattered' by links to top EU job but has 'no plans for a career change'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is “flattered” to be linked to the role of the new president of the European Commission but that he plans to stay put in Ireland as Taoiseach.

Answering questions about international reports he is being touted to succeed EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr Varadkar also confirmed the Cabinet will decide who to propose as Ireland's own commissioner for the new European Commission once the process of appointing a president is complete. EU leaders will hold another summit in Brussels this weekend to decide on the top role.

There is continued speculation as to who will be chosen by member state leaders as the new head of the commission, especially with Brexit still firmly on the agenda.

The Financial Times reported this week that another candidate, as opposed to Bavarian MEP Manfred Weber, may be considered for the top job. Choices to replace him come from within the top ranks of the European People's Party of which Fine Gael is a member. Figures being put forth as potential successor's to Mr Juncker include Brexit negotiator and former French MEP Michel Barnier, the head of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva and former Finish prime minister Alexander Stubb as well as Taoiseach Mr Varadkar among others. It was reported that selecting Mr Varadkar for the job would be a strong sign of EU resolve, that Ireland was a financial crisis success story but entrusting an Irishman with the Brexit talks may be worrying.

Asked yesterday about the potential new role, Mr Varadkar responded: “I'm flattered to be considered for the new position of president but I have a job.

"It is 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."

The Irish Examiner recently reported Mr Varadkar was likely to propose that Irish commissioner Phil Hogan be returned to the commission for a second term. Mr Varadkar said a decision on it would be agreed by Cabinet and could take place as early as next week if EU leaders, at the weekend, agree on a new president.

“When it comes to appointing our member in the EU commission, that will be done in consultation with the Cabinet once there is a president in place," explained Mr Varadkar.

Mr Hogan is the current Agriculture Commissioner and the former Fine Gael minister has made it known he would like to stay on with the commission, a role that would continue until 2024 on a yearly salary of €270,000, with generous pension entitlements.

More on this topic

EU probing Amazon over use of retailers’ data to gain edgeEU probing Amazon over use of retailers’ data to gain edge

EU's Vestager set ‘to start Amazon competition probe’ as Ursula von der Leyen talks about US tech firms paying taxEU's Vestager set ‘to start Amazon competition probe’ as Ursula von der Leyen talks about US tech firms paying tax

Kelly: European Commission candidate should 'not interfere' with Phil Hogan's re-appointment Kelly: European Commission candidate should 'not interfere' with Phil Hogan's re-appointment

Hogan to be nominated for second term as EU commissionerHogan to be nominated for second term as EU commissioner

More in this Section

Man dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co CorkMan dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co Cork

No winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richerNo winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richer

Hundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centreHundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centre

Loyalist flute band plays in PortrushLoyalist flute band plays in Portrush


Lifestyle

Celebrate the anniversary by finding lift off without even leaving the earth, at these stateside visitor centres and museums, says Sarah Marshall.America’s top space-age attractions to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing

For bookworms and classic movie buffs, the notion of a London park will forever conjure up images of Mary Poppins with the Banks children in tow.Inside/ Out: Park life is looking up in London by Eve Kelliher

“Does anyone want to be my friend?” roared my five year old as he walked into the playground at our French campsite on holidays.Learner Dad: 'It can be heartbreaking watching your kids try make friends on holiday'

These handy product edits are so useful for travelling, says Katie Wright.Palettes pack a punch: The travel must have

More From The Irish Examiner