June 26, 2019 / 11:00 AM / a month ago

Irish premier dismisses talk of moving to top EU job

Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar speaks during a news conference after the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday he was flattered by media reports suggesting he could become head of the European Union’s executive, but insisted he was not seeking a career change.

EU leaders will meet again on Sunday to seek agreement on who should inherit the bloc’s top jobs after French President Emmanuel Macron last week blocked German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pick for EU Commission President.

With the candidacy of Merkel-backed Manfred Weber faltering, the Financial Times and Politico both included Varadkar on long lists of potential alternatives from Weber’s European People’s Party (EPP) group.

Varadkar, who turned 40 this year, became Ireland’s youngest prime minister two years ago when he took over from Enda Kenny and is due to seek re-election in early 2021, at the latest.

“I’m flattered to be considered for the position of EU Commission President but I have a job, it’s as Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland. I’m loving the job and am only getting started, I think so I have no plans for a career change at this stage,” Varadkar told reporters.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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