Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende has dismissed reports that he is poised to take up a high-powered European Union job as ‘rubbish’.
The Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday that the Christian Democratic party had already agreed that foreign minister Maxime Verhagen would take over as premier if Balkenende is appointed first permanent president of the European Council of Ministers. Transport minister Camiel Eurlings would take over at the foreign ministry.
The Lisbon treaty on EU reform includes the establishment of a permanent president – unlike the current rotating presidency. Balkenende’s name is being touted in Brussels as a strong candidate, the paper said. An appointment is likely to be made early next year.
Balkenende told MPs he wanted to see out his current premiership. The Netherlands will hold a general election in 2011.
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