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Reynders to run for Council of Europe top job

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The European Union’s Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders gained the Belgian government’s support to campaign for the job of secretary general of the Council of Europe on Wednesday, according to a Belgian official.

Reynders, who is currently Belgium’s representative in the European Commission, previously expressed interest in staying on for another Commission mandate but was forced to reconsider his options when Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said last weekend that he would be running as the top candidate for his party in the European Parliament election in June. Michel and Reynders are both members of the French-speaking Reformist Movement party in Belgium.

The Council of Europe is an international organization focused on human rights that is headquartered in Strasbourg, France and runs the influential European Court of Human Rights. The organization is not a part of the European Union’s institutions, which include the European Council and the Council of the EU.

The current secretary-general of the Council of Europe is Croatian politician Marija Pejčinović Burić, who started her five year mandate in 2019. Reynders was an official candidate for the job in 2019 but lost the race to the Croatian.

The election for the role of secretary-general of the Council of Europe is planned in June, a communications officer for the institution said.

Member governments have to put forward their candidates by the end of Wednesday and the institution will examine the candidacies end January. In March, candidates will face an interview by the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe.

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