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Taoiseach supports Juncker saying he is a strong candidate for presidency

Enda Kenny denied reports that he is tipped as a backup for EC chief role saying Juncker is the EPP’s formal candidate.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has denied that there is a blockage to Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission.

Yesterday The Financial Times reported that the British Prime Minister David Cameron believes Junker to be “unacceptable” as a candidate for the presidency.

The newspaper reported that Cameron wants a “sympathetic figure” with Kenny being tipped as a backup for the EU role.

When asked by reporters in Brussels yesterday if he was doing a job interview, Kenny said there is no blockage to Junkers and that he was the EPP candidate selected.

Lead candidate

Junker is the lead candidate for the European People’s Party, for which Fine Gael is a member.

The Taoiseach said that the Cameron has a “strong view” about the candidates and said he spoke to him on Sunday, telling him of Fine Gael’s support for Junker.

Speaking about the meeting with EU leaders yesterday, Kenny said that there was a consensus at the meeting that the issue of presidency should not be held up too long.

“The EPP has a clear decision made, a strong candidate and is now the largest block in the EU Parliament,” he said.

After backing Juncker during the election campaign, German Chancellor Merkel said that since no group had a distinct majority in parliament, “therefore we must surely also look at a wider set of personalities.”

If Juncker gets enough of the 751 EU lawmakers to support him, he will still have to convince the overwhelming majority of government leaders.

For Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party said choosing Juncker would be yet more proof that the  EU parliament was “tone deaf to change”.

Getting on with the job

Kenny said:

This is about stability, growth and jobs. It is case now of the European Parliament and Commission of making political decisions and getting on with them.

He added: “What’s needed now is a Europe that demonstrates its effectiveness in dealing with the challenges and problems that people have.”

Speaking about the banking union, Kenny said that it was important to have follow through on decisions made and from an “Irish perspective the conclusion to the whole process of banking union, single resolution mechanism and so on, so we can pursue our claim for direct recapitalisation later in the year…”.

Additional reporting Associated Press

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