Magazine: Estonian PM Kallas the top candidate for EU’s foreign policy chief

According to Politico, a global political magazine, the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, is the most talked-about name for the next high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy of the European Commission.

The post is currently held by Josep Borrell, a Spanish politician, who won’t be returning to the role in the next European Commission. And while the high representative’s job doesn’t involve a lot of power in practice – national foreign ministers often play a crucial role instead – several politicians from small member countries see the value of it, Politico says. 

“Baltic countries, starting with Estonia, want to have a larger say on EU foreign policy, especially a tougher approach to future relations with Russia,” the magazine notes, adding that Kaja Kallas, the current prime minister of Estonia, is “the most talked-about name in Brussels when it comes to this job”.

“Three French officials with direct knowledge of the talks on the future HRVP confirmed to Politico that Emmanuel Macron’s office has been eyeing Kallas to succeed Borrell. But all three also said the French president was keeping his options open,” according to the magazine.

“There’s a good understanding between Macron and Kallas, she’s well-liked and they’ve got similar points of view,” a source told Politico.

The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, meeting with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on 18 October 2023, in Paris. Photo by the Stenbock House.

Focusing too exclusively on Russia

A senior Eastern European official also said there was confirmation from Estonian counterparts about Macron’s preference for Kallas. “They said Macron gave his nod early this year,” the official told the magazine.

However, Politico notes it’s far from a done deal as EU members farther away from Russia have a widespread distrust of the Baltic region’s critical rhetoric on Russia. There is also a fear that Kallas would focus too exclusively on Russia, and not pay attention to the rest of the world, the magazine points out.

The other names Politico puts out there as potential candidates for the high representative’s job are Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium; Sophie Wilmès, a former prime minister of Belgium; Xavier Bettel, the foreign minister of Luxembourg; Radek Sikorski, the foreign minister of Poland; and Micheál Martin, the former taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland.

The high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission, commonly abbreviated as HRVP (or HR/VP) is the chief coordinator and representative of the common foreign and security policy within the European Union.

The HRVP chairs regular meetings of the EU’s 27 foreign, defence and development ministers, and represents the EU at G7 and G20 ministerial meetings.

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