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Michel withdraws candidacy for European elections

With his announcement that he wanted to run in the European elections, EU Council President Michel caused criticism. Because then he would have given up his office earlier than planned. Now Michel rowed back.

EU Council President Charles Michel has withdrawn his candidacy for the upcoming European elections. The top politician wrote on Facebook that he did not want his candidacy to undermine the European project or be misused in any way to divide the European Council. He welcomes political criticism and every legitimate argument. But personal attacks increasingly overshadowed factual arguments.

At the beginning of the month, Michel announced that he would lead the list of the liberal Belgian party Mouvement Reformateur (MR) in the European elections. If elected, he would relinquish his position as Council President, it was said. After the elections, the EU heads of state and government could then discuss a successor to the post of Council President, the Belgian said at the time.

Presidency until November 30th

The announcement caused a stir in Brussels – especially because Hungary will take over the rotating presidency of the EU Council of Ministers in July. If there had been no successor to Michel as President of the European Council – the body of heads of state and government – by then, the meeting would initially have been chaired by its head of government, Viktor Orban. Orban has been known for his Euro-critical course for years.

The task of the EU Council President is to coordinate cooperation and summit meetings between EU countries. Michel took over the position in December 2019. After his re-election in 2022, his second term will end on November 30th of this year. The European elections will take place at the beginning of June.

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