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Politico: Rumors Kaja Kallas might be offered top EU job

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas outside the Stenbock House, seat of the Estonian government (photo taken October 2022 during an official visit by Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president).
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas outside the Stenbock House, seat of the Estonian government (photo taken October 2022 during an official visit by Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has been named in connection with a high position at the European Union due to become vacant later this year, news site POLITICO's European portal reports.

The piece is titled: "'Dream team': How all the EU's top jobs could be held by women," and by POLITICO's own admission dovetailing into something of a hobby inside the "Brussels bubble," i.e. treading the rumor mill on who will get the next top-level EU jobs after this June's elections.

Kaja Kallas' name is linked in the article with the position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy post (in effect the EU's foreign policy chief, a post currently occupied by Josep Borell).

One thing Kallas already has in her favor, at least based on the article's overarching thesis, is that she is a woman.

Another relates to where she comes from: Many Central and Eastern European (CEE) leaders, POLITICO says, believe that one of the top EU jobs should go to a figure from this region.

Kallas herself has touched on this issue in the past, albeit not in a positive sense, and in relation to NATO, rather than the EU.

Underscoring the CEE question is the return as Poland's prime minister of Donald Tusk, European Council president 2014 to 2019.

One EU official told POLITICO that this precedent would make it "simply impossible to avoid" holding out on giving at least one top job to someone from the CEE countries – which after all, post-enlargement, total 11 of the EU27.

This does not mean that the CEE would clean up on these posts – Northern Europe would take at least one (for instance in the form of current Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen), as would the South (a role currently filled by President of the European Parliament Roberta Mestola, from Malta).

Again, these leaders are all women – already in position are two more notables, Christine Lagarde (France), president of the ECB (to 2027) and Nadia Calviño (Spain), who has just started her term as president of the European Investment Bank.

All this could serve to atone for what POLITICO calls a "not great track record" relating to women in top EU jobs – the exception being the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy post Kallas has been linked with (now held by Borrell, a man, but previously held by Federica Mogherini (Italy) and before her, Catherine Ashton (U.K.).

This is not to say that all men in high places would be taking the developments with complete equanimity; one unnamed official quipped to POLITICO that he might be demoted to the level of cleaning the toilets as a result.

For Kallas, too, a more senior role need not be a shoo-in. Given that some diplomats felt that she had been too hawkish on Russia for the NATO top job ever to be realistic for her, the same might be the with the EU.

The likelihood of Frederiksen replacing Charles Michel at the helm of the European Council is also increasingly being taken seriously by diplomats, POLITICO says, while on the other hand, for some on the center left, Frederiksen is "not socialist enough" given Denmark's tough line on migration.

After the EU election in June, the top jobs at the European Council, the Commission and the Parliament — plus the head of the European External Action Service — will be distributed among the major political groups.

One anonymous source from the diplomatic corps called a von der Leyen-Metsola-Frederiksen-Kallas lineup a "dream team," which would "send such a strong message."

While Ursula von der Leyen, a former defense minister of Germany, will remain European Commission president after the election, she, too, was not really on the radar ahead of her appointment in 2019, POLITICO says.

The full POLITICO piece is here.

Kallas herself said this month, that she was not considering a return to Europe, either in the parliament (she was an MEP 2014-2019) or the commission (Estonia will be choosing a new commissioner after the election, to replace Kadri Simson, whose term ends).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: POLITICO

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