28th Jan 2021

UK against Verhofstadt for Commission president

The Belgian prime minister's hopes to be given the top job in Brussels as European Commission President may have been dealt a fatal blow.

According to Belgian paper de Standaard, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will not accept Guy Verhofstadt as the person for the position - the two men are said to have clashed during the December Summit on the EU Constitution.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Mr Blair discussed the issue with French President Jacques Chirac at a meeting over the weekend in Paris.

It would not be the first time London has torpedoed efforts by a Belgian to become Commission President.

Former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene's bid for the job ten years ago was vetoed by the UK as he was seen as too federalist.

Schüssel out

Meanwhile, according to Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel is not on the shortlist of six possible candidates for the job.

The newspaper says that external relations commissioner Chris Patten and European Parliament President Pat Cox are the top runners.

However, Mr Patten is not supported by the French and Mr Cox, though popular among new member states, is seen as not having enough executive experience.

Justice and home affairs commissioner Antonio Vitorino, former Finnish prime minister Paavo Lipponen, Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt are also still on the list.

But it may be that Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern stands a chance as a compromise candidate. France and Germany are said to look upon him favourably for his handling of the Constitution negotiations.

EU leaders are set to decide on a candidate in June.

Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office

The new European Public Prosecutor's office will become operational in March. It is tasked to carry out criminal fraud investigations of the EU budget. But of the 140 required European delegated prosecutors, only nine have so far set up office.

Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors

Last year's German EU presidency refused corporate sponsorships. But the new Portuguese presidency has decided they are needed and has signed three contracts. One of them is with one of Europe's largest paper companies, The Navigator Company.


How one man and his dog made a mark on EU history

A local man walked into a pharmacy in Galway, western Ireland, to buy medicine for his dog five years ago and now he is making history in the European Court of Justice.

News in Brief

  1. Putin holds out olive branch to Europe
  2. US snatched Russian anti-air system from Libya warlord
  3. UK to extradite alleged trafficker to EU despite Brexit
  4. EU puts trust in Boeing 737s after post-crash ban
  5. EU animal-export trade under harsh spotlight
  6. City of London wants to set rules for EU
  7. MEPs want 2030 targets to reduce consumption footprint
  8. Coronavirus cases worldwide pass 100m

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Poland imposes anti-abortion law amid EU concern
  2. The EU's vaccine strategy - the key points
  3. EU-AstraZeneca row flares up after vaccines shortfall
  4. First Covid, now McKinsey - how austerity hit EU healthcare
  5. Frontex suspends operations in Hungary
  6. Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office
  7. MEPs: Portugal 'risks undermining' trust in EU prosecutor
  8. EU to control vaccine exports in row over delays

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us