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Europe

Blair May Back Verhofstadt for EU Commission President

Speculation is growing that the Britain may be ready to give its tacit support for the Belgian Premier Guy Verhofstadt to become the next Commission President.

London had originally looked like blocking Belgian Premier Guy Verhofstadt’s candidature claiming he was too federalist. However it seems British Prime Minister Blair, in the face of support from France and Germany, is struggling to fight a campaign that is gathering momentum. According to sources quoted in the Independent, Verhofstadt may now get London’s backing on an economic reform ticket. "We may have slightly under-estimated Verhofstadt," said the source. "We are very keen to pursue the jobs agenda and want the new Commission to move on it. He has good credentials to do that." Britain had given its support to the Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen. However, calls for his appointment have not been well supported with just three weeks to go until the summit that is to decide who will get the post. Meanwhile, Verhofstadt's candidature has been rejected by the president of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, German Hans-Gert Pöttering. (EUobserver.com)

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