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Europe

Portuguese PM Tops List for Commission President Post

Portuguese prime minister José Manuel Durão Barroso is emerging as the top contender for Commission president. According to the Financial Times, Barroso's relative obscurity in comparison to more high-profile names has helped his chances. He also fits the bill in that he is a prime minister - EU leaders seems to want to give the post to one of their own - and he comes from a small country which belongs to all of the core Europe policies. However, still counting against him is the fact that he organized the Azores summit before the Iraq war bringing together U.S. President George W. Bush, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and José María Aznar, the former Spanish prime minister. Moreover, if he were to be chosen it would open the question of whether the EU should have both a Commission President and a Foreign Policy Chief from Iberia - as the Spaniard Javier Solana is set to be kept on in his position as the EU's High Representative. The Irish EU Presidency continues to say that there is nobody heading the list for Romano Prodi's job. Irish prime minister and current EU chief Bertie Ahern will sound out his colleagues at the NATO summit in Turkey this weekend. The name of the person has to be decided before July 22, when the European Parliament is due to give its verdict on the candidate. ( EUobserver.com)

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