Francois Hollande is reportedly considering running for Donald Tusk's top EU job
Reports in France suggested that the outgoing Socialist was plotting to oust Donald Tusk as the president of the European Council and install himself in the role.
The dynamite political move would give him huge leverage over the upcoming Brexit negotiations with the Council, which is made up of the other 27 EU leaders, setting the terms for the talks.
But his aides have today categorically denied the reports, in Le Parisien newspaper, stating that it is "completely untrue" their boss is angling for the job.
Polish politician Mr Tusk's first term as the Council's president comes to an end on May 31 and he has not yet indicated whether or not he will stand for a second.
The outgoing French president has denied eyeing up the European Council president post
Boris Johnson recently sparked controversy by comparing Mr Hollande to a POW camp guard
The role is elected under the qualified majority voting system, meaning either 16 or more out of the 28 member states or countries which represent at least 65 per cent of the EU population would need to back him.
He is believed to be vulnerable to political attacks from eastern Europe and particularly his homeland, where he is involved in a long-running feud with the ruling Law and Justice party.
Mr Hollande, who has taken a hostile attitude towards Britain over its decision to leave the EU, is not standing for reelection due to rock bottom poll ratings and will be out of a job on May 7.
His appointment to a role which will play such a key role in the UK's divorce proceedings would be highly contentious and could be interpreted as incendiary by Downing Street.
It would continue the unhappy tradition of the EU bureaucracy being the dumping ground for failed and unelectable politicians
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg
It would make him the second Frenchman, alongside Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, to wield huge influence over the prospect of any future trade deal with Britain.
EU leaders may also look to block the role given Mr Hollande's atrocious popularity ratings in his home country, whilst the appointment would do little to dispel the image of Brussels as an old boys' network.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told euractiv: “It would continue the unhappy tradition of the EU bureaucracy being the dumping ground for failed and unelectable politicians."
Le Parisien cited "several source" which it said claimed that Mr Hollande wanted to run for the job because he is a committed European and because the EU institutions are currently dominated by conservatives.
Francois Hollande Fast Facts
Thu, December 1, 2016
Here is a look at the life of Francois Hollande, President of France since 2012.
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December 1st, 2016: Francois Hollande decides not to run again in the next France presidency.
But EU Council officials said they had heard no whispers about the 62-year-old Frenchman seeking the powerful role, with one describing it as a "crazy rumour".
However, Mr Hollande is very close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and she would doubtless appreciate having a trustworthy and dependable ally in such a sensitive position.
But Theresa May would be less pleased, with the speculation coming after foreign secretary Boris Johnson controversially compared the French president to a prison camp guard in a war film over his tough views on Brexit.