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’Panic’ over PM Orbán potentially succeeding EC President Michel

January 12th, 2024

A left-wing analyst finds western fears about the probable resignation of the President of the European Council unfounded.

Liberal western news outlets have expressed alarm over the possibility that if the post becomes temporarily vacant, PM Orbán could briefly become President of the European Council. Charles Michel’s mandate only expires in December this year, but he has announced that he will run for a seat in the European Parliament. If elected in June, he will have to resign from his post as President of the Council. In that case, until a successor is elected, Mr Michel’s functions should be assumed by  Mr Orbán, who will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of the year.

On 24.hu, Zsolt Kerner dismisses ‘panic reactions’ over Mr Michel’s early resignation as groundless. He sees the post of Council President as only moderately important, as shown by his decision to seek a seat in the European Parliament instead of completing his term. At any rate, he argues, if the heads of state and prime ministers don’t want Mr Orbán to succeed the Belgian even temporarily, they are free to elect a new President before June. Kerner adds that if the Hungarian Prime Minister can fulfil the job of rotating EU president and, as such, mediate among the various actors and positions, there is no reason to believe that he could not do the same as Council President for a few months.

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