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Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has abandoned his plan to seek a seat in the European parliament this summer and will instead remain in his job, three weeks after announcing he would run in the elections.
The U-turn means the former Belgian prime minister will continue to chair EU summits and represent the views of the bloc’s 27 leaders, and will not step down before the end of his mandate in December as he would have been forced to in order to take a seat in the legislature after the June elections.
The unexpected decision comes six days before a crucial summit of EU leaders where the future of the bloc’s financial support to Ukraine will be decided. Brussels is under intense pressure to find a compromise deal that will allow Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to drop his veto against using the shared budget.