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Europe

Barroso Hints at Commission Compromise

Jose Manuel Barroso, the incoming president of the European Commission, appeared to be heading for a compromise over his controversial nominee for the commission's sensitive justice portfolio on Wednesday.

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Barroso prepares to concede on some Commission issues

While in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, incoming European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso looked to give ground on controversial aspects and personnel of his proposed commission.

"I think we can find a solution that respects the European Parliament's views and concerns, a solution that allows the Commission to be effective and credible," Barroso said after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Schröder, for his part, gave his government's endorsement to the new commission and said that a strong executive is vital to Germany's interests. "I very much hope that the president of the commission and the whole of his new commission will be met with the approval of the parliament," he said.

"What we need is a strong European Commission that is able to do the job and Germans have every interest in supporting such a strong commission."

Buttiglione the center of the storm

Rocco Buttiglione in Brüssel

EU Commissioner designate for Justice, Freedom and Security Rocco Buttiglione.

Rocco Buttiglione, a conservative Italian Catholic, was nominated as commissioner for justice, freedom and security in the new EU executive, but he has infuriated many with remarks on gays, the role of women and single mothers. Calls have multiplied in recent days for Buttiglione to be dropped from the commission, given another post or have parts of his duties assigned to other members of the executive.

25 members with opinions but one policy

"I'm optimistic that a balanced solution will be found," an upbeat Barroso told reporters in Berlin. "We have 25 members of the commission. Maybe in some matters we can have 25 personal opinions. But I can tell you we will only have one policy," he said.

Barroso, whose commission faces an acceptance vote in the assembly in a week, declined further comment, saying he had been asked not to comment before meeting the leaders of the European parliamentary groups on Thursday.

The EU parliament vote is to approve or reject the entire commission. MEPs cannot veto individual commissioners. Without parliamentary approval, the commission cannot take office on November 1.

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