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V4 could back Barnier for EC President, Hungary says

European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will be among the candidates that Central European member states Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia could support to become the next European Commission president, the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office has said, according to news service Reuters.

Michel Barnier (Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com)

Asked at a news conference yesterday whether the Hungarian government and its allies, known as the Visegrád Group or the V4, would back Barnier for the top job, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás said: “He is among those we would be able to support.”

More than a month after May elections to the European Parliament, there seems little sign of agreement between parliamentary groups or between member state prime ministers on who should replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the president of the European Commission.

At previous summits, Franco-German hegemony has built support around a favored candidate. But there is disagreement between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who supports center-right technocrat Manfred Weber, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who has floated other candidates including the center-left Frans Timmermans, Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Reuters said.