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Portugal's Antonio Costa expected to be next head of European Council

18/6/2024 6:23
        Portugal's Antonio Costa has long been building support among European peers to become the president of the European Council, hoping his skills as a
        pragmatic negotiator will help him win the job.
        
        Costa, 62, stepped down as Portugal's prime minister last November over an investigation into alleged illegalities in his government's handling of several large investment projects.
        
        But Costa has denied wrongdoing, was never charged with a crime and is the frontrunner to succeed Belgium's Charles Michel as the person who chairs summits of the 27 EU national leaders at which the bloc's political agenda is set.
        
        In that role, Costa would have to have to build bridges between heads of state and government in a fragmented Europe with the far right on the rise.
        
        Although his chief of staff was briefly arrested, the prosecutors' case has largely fallen apart after judges at Lisbon's Court of Appeal and Portugal's ombudswoman said the investigation was based on speculation, not evidence.
        
        



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