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Europe

Solana Emerges as Contender for Commission President

A new name has joined those being considered by EU leaders as candidates to take over as president of the European Commission in autumn: Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.

A new name has joined those being considered by European Union leaders as candidates to take over as European Commission president in autumn: Javier Solana, the EU's current foreign policy chief. According to the Financial Times, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will meet his British counterpart, Tony Blair, in London Thursday to discuss the issue. The newspaper reported that London is showing signs of supporting Solana as an alternative to Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who is currently a shortlist favorite. Although Verhofstadt appears to have the support of French President Jacques Chirac, he is considered too federalist and pro-European to curry favor with London. Two of the other names in the hat -- External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen -- are thought unlikely to get the position as they both come from countries that are outside the euro zone. Outgoing president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, is also interested in filling current Commission President Romano Prodi's shoes, but some have criticized his lack of executive experience as he has never been in government. ( EUobserver.com)

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