There is mounting speculation that prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende will be nominated for the job of first EU president, with a leading EU news site stating he has the support of German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Balkenende is engaged in a ‘very subtle’ lobbying campaign which is being staged from the Hague, website Euractiv.com said, quoting a well-positioned source.
The source, who did not wish to be named, believes that Balkenende will have a high-profile backer in re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
‘Angela Merkel is very close to the Dutch PM,’ the source told the website. ‘Personally and politically, they see eye to eye and they’re both the same style of no-nonsense, low-key politicians.’
This means Merkel could push Balkenende as a viable compromise candidate and an alternative to former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Earlier this month, Balkenende dismissed reports that he is poised to take up the high-powered job as ‘rubbish’ but did not categorically rule out a move to Brussels.
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 Financieele Dagblad said at the time. 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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