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Germany

Schröder Wants Verheugen to Remain EU Commissioner

Despite strong resistance from the conservative opposition, the German government has indicated it will nominate Günter Verheugen for a second five-year term as a commissioner on the EU's executive body. Verheugen had gained "enormous esteem" during his first term, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said Monday in Istanbul, according to The Associated Press. "It would be the wrong decision if Germany nominated someone else," he added. Schröder has been pushing for Verheugen to become the first economics commissioner, a position championed by Germany, but which has not yet been created. Although Christian Democratic party leader Angela Merkel has backed establishment of the new post as well as the claim that it should be filled by a German, she criticized choosing Verheugen instead of a "proven expert." Politicians from the Bavarian Christian Social Union have spoken out in favor of Merkel's deputy Friedrich Merz. Since 1999, Verheugen, a Social Democrat like Schröder, has been charged with coordinating the EU expansion that took place on June 1.

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