European Council President may resign early, with Orban temporarily replacing him — media
European Council President Charles Michel has announced that he will run for the European Parliament in the summer, and so will leave office early. If this happens, the current Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban may temporarily succeed him
Michel spoke about his plans in an interview with three Belgian outlets.
"I have decided to run in the European elections in 2024. If I am elected, I will take my seat. The European Council can decide and name a successor by the end of June, beginning of July," he said.
Elections to the European Parliament will be held in June. If Michel is elected, he will leave the presidency of the European Council in mid-July.
According to him, the election campaign should not affect his current tenure. Michel emphasized that 2024 is a very important election year not only in Europe but also around the world.
"First of all, the European project is at a crossroads, and there is a need to strengthen the legitimacy of European democracy. I want to be part of the team of builders of the European project and I am running for office to continue serving it," the current President of the European Council emphasized.
Charles Michel has been heading the European Council since the end of 2019. He could have remained in office until the end of November 2024.
At the same time, according to European law, the duties of the President of the European Council until a successor is elected should be performed by a member of the European Council from the country that holds the presidency. The new parliament will begin its work in July, and Hungary will preside over the European Council at that time.
According to Politico, given the tense relations with Hungary, most EU countries "would be desperate to avoid" the scenario that the Council will be led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban for six months.
This is the first time that the current president of the EU Council will be a candidate in the European Parliament elections, and also the first time he leaves office early.
The outlet emphasizes that although Michel's decision is legally permissible, it puts additional pressure on European leaders, as they usually have more time to reshuffle and negotiate during a major distribution of top EU positions.
Following the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 6-9 in all 27 EU countries, European leaders will convene on June 17, and subsequently, on June 27-28. During these meetings they are likely to try to reach an agreement on Michel's replacement.
- On November 8, 2023, the European Commission recommended starting the process of negotiating Ukraine's accession to the EU.
- At the same time, Viktor Orban said that negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU are not in Hungary's interests and therefore should not be put on the agenda. He also sent a letter to the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, asking him not to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.