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Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo by: REUTERS

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny linked to top position in European Commission

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo by: REUTERS

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny is the center of early speculation that he may be next in line for the head of the European Commission or European Council.

The Sunday Independent reports that over the last few months, European diplomats have been asking civil servants if the Fine Gael leader will be putting himself forward for the post.

"What the Ferrero Rocher set are picking up on is the political interest. The ambassadors systematically ask straight out, saying the Taoiseach's name is being mentioned and does he have an interest? They don't get an answer. But they ask, alright," a government source said.

French newspaper Le Monde said last week that Kenny and Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen were both "discretely positioned" in the race to be next commission president, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have him on her shortlist for the role.

"She needs a non-threatening politician . . . She does regard him and that's not just activated by his spin doctors. He would be absolutely finished if he went for it and then didn't get it," a Fine Gael minister told the Sunday Independent.

"She's very favourable of our man in every way. They get on very well. She is a very organised, methodical politician.

The source added: "I think he is concentrated on the job here. He likes the job. He feels the country is making progress."

Kenny may be seen as ideal for the job as he comes from a small country that has seen economic difficulties and his leadership style is well known to many EU leaders.

"There's a multiplicity of reasons. There are few people who would be acceptable to northern and southern states in Europe. He would be regarded in the other peripheral countries and the core countries. You are getting someone who could straddle both," the source added.

However, a  senior minister argues that the Taoiseach wouldn't interested in the move to Brussels.

"He has no interest in the job in Europe. He wants to get out of the bailout and win a second term. That's it."

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