Sticking around: Barnier rules himself out of running for EU's top job
EU chief negotiator and Brexiteer nemesis Michel Barnier has ruled himself out of the race to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission.
In a letter posted on Twitter, the 67-year-old Frenchman said running as the so called Spitzenkandidat of the conservative European People's Party would be incompatible with his role in the Brexit negotiations.
"It is my duty and responsibility to continue the Brexit negotiations right to the end," he said.
I have decided today not to run for the nomination as the @EPP's European elections lead campaigner at #EPPHelsinki. It is my duty and responsibility to continue the #Brexit negotiations right to the end. pic.twitter.com/yc3g5T3aTQ
-- Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) September 28, 2018
Under the Spitzenkandidat system, the party groupings in the European Parliament each choose a lead candidate to campaign across the EU and challenge each other in debates.
One of the candidates - most probably the nominee of the grouping that wins the most seats in the parliament - is then chosen by the European Council, made up of EU leaders, to be the commission president.
You may also want to watch:
Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, is a potential lead candidate for the social democrats.
The system was first used in 2014 when Juncker became president, having beaten Barnier for the EEP nomination.
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 4 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 5 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 9 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 10 Boris Johnson and Priti Patel urged to end 'attacks' on lawyers in letter by 800 legal professionals
But it is unclear whether it will be used again after it was heavily criticised by EU leaders - including French president Emmanuel Macron - who want a greater say over appointing the EU's top official.
Macron is thought to favour Margrethe Vestager, a Danish liberal, but she is likely to face opposition from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who may insist on a fellow conservative.
A dark horse who could suit both Macron and Merkel is Christine Lagarde, who currently heads the International Monetary Fund.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.