By Anthony Reddin
Well Enda Kenny is in the running for President of the European Council was created only in 2009, by the Lisbon treaty. The treaty also increased the importance of the high representative for foreign and security policy, combining the position with that of a European commissioner.(never asked for a write down,remember you don`t get a say..this is not direct democracy!!!!)
the candidates (in alphabetical order)
José Bové and Ska Keller
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prime minister of Ireland Previously: Leader of Fine Gael when in opposition Political group: EPP Born: 1951 Possible contender for: President of the European Council, President of the European Commission
Alhough Enda Kenny has repeatedly told Irish media that he is not interested in a European position, this has not stopped speculation about his prospects. He is perfectly positioned for such an appointment. For the leader of a small country, a move to become president of the European Commission or European Council would be considered an impressive advancement.
He is from the centre-right, which contributes more than any other political group to the members of the European Council, the club of national leaders. He has made Ireland a poster-child for German-driven austerity measures, which he implemented to the letter. Now Ireland has exited its EU bail-out programme and the Irish economy is clawing its way back to health. So Kenny would be a plausible choice. It helps that Ireland’s presidency of the Council of Ministers in the first half of 2013 (so still a recent memory) was a resounding success.
Before becoming Taoiseach, or prime minister, in March 2011, Kenny served a lengthy period – nine years – as leader of the opposition. Somehow he kept his Fine Gael party rivals at bay, in the years of discontent while Fine Fail, led first by Bertie Ahern and then Brian Cowen, kept them out of government. Kenny had been around long enough to experience Fine Gael in government. He was briefly a junior education minister in 1986-87 and trade and tourism minister in 1993-97.
Nowadays Kenny is in a coalition government with Ireland’s Labour Party, which is a member of the Party of European Socialists. So he has already shown he can work with the centre-left.
His European counterparts lavished praise him at the EPP party congress in Dublin on 7 March. He was in the spotlight then: giving a keynote speech just before delegates voted on who should be the party’s nominee for Commission president. They had been given a choice between Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier. For domestic political reasons, Kenny could not have declared himself a candidate. For a sitting prime minister, the stakes are too high: if the EPP fared badly in May’s European Parliament elections, Kenny would have a difficult time explaining to Irish voters why he had tried – and failed – to leave them.
Some still suspect, however, that Kenny may yet have a part to play. They consider that Juncker, who beat Barnier for the nomination, is merely a stalking horse, to be replaced when circumstances require.
In a profile published back in 2011 (The stayer), European Voice noted that Kenny had earned respect both inside and outside Ireland for a firebrand speech in which he took on the Roman Catholic Church: “Following the publication of yet another report in July into clerical child-sex abuse, Kenny let rip in the Dáil, Ireland’s parliament. The report, he said, ‘excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism – the narcissism – that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day’.”
Most of the time, however, Kenny is no silver-tongued orator, and he is most unlikely to stir Europe to new emotional heights. In that respect he bears comparison with Herman Van Rompuy, the current president of the European Council. Like Van Rompuy, he is a skilled networker and is widely liked. He was active in the European People’s Party long before he rose to the prime ministership, and he served two terms as one of its vice-presidents, in 2006-12. If the EPP does find itself in a position to nominate the president of the European Council, and if it wants to stick with the low-key style established by Van Rompuy, then Kenny might fit the bill.