In an unprecedented move, the European Commission on Wednesday decided to formally back a political candidate running for President in Greece, and applauded the government for calling for snap presidential election.
Yesterday, the Greek government and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras moved the presidential vote forward by two months and announced that former European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has been chosen as the government’s candidate for President of the Hellenic Republic.
Annika Breidthardt, a Commission spokesperson, said during a press conference on Wednesday that EU’s executive team has taken note of the Greek government’s decision to advance the presidential election, where three rounds are foreseen.
“This is a democratic decision of the Greek authorities and Prime Minister Samaras. The decision can help remove uncertainties around financial markets. It is a strong signal to Europe that Prime Minister Samaras has decided to bring his presidential candidate Stavros Dimas forward, a former Commissioner and a convinced European. The choice is now in the hands of the Greek Parliament and people,” Breidthardt said.
The EU tends to stay away from trying to promote candidates, political parties and influencing national elections, but the sudden backing of Dimas could be a sign of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker‘s intentions of leading a more political European Commission.
Breidthardt later added that she does not believe that there has been a change in the Commission’s policies, “but at this point, we wanted to make this statement.”