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Europe

Prodi to present list of Commissioners end of February

European Commission President Romano Prodi has said he will present a list of potential Commissioners from the ten new member states to the EU Irish Presidency at the end of next month.

Prodi said he had "already started the work with all the ten governments." Originally, the Commission president wanted to have the list ready by the end of April but the European Parliament requested the date be brought forward so it could have hearings with the candidates – many of whom are likely to continue after the six-month transition period. From May 1, when the EU expands to 25 member states, the Commission will similarly expand from the present 20 members to 30 Commissioners. When its mandate runs out in November, the terms of the Nice Treaty will kick in whereby the five large member states (Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy) will have the number of their Commissioners reduced from two to one - leaving the Brussels executive with 25 members. "I think I am perfectly in time", said Mr Prodi of the end of February deadline. Irish Prime Minister and current head of the European Council Bertie Ahern said that he would carry out his consultations on the basis that "we will get the best person." (EUobserver.com)