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Europe

Solana to Push for EU Foreign Minister Job

According to French daily "Le Monde," Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for foreign policy, wants the job of European foreign minister -- a post foreseen in the draft European Constitution.

The Parisian paper Le Monde quoted sources saying that Javier Solana, the European Union's high representative for foreign policy, will push for his post to be "boosted" at a meeting of EU heads of state and government on June 17 and 18. In other words, he would like the foreseen European foreign minister position to be brought forward and come into force before the whole Constitution is put into place -- something not likely to happen before 2006. The post would combine Solana's current role with that of the Commissioner for external relations, a post currently held by the UK's Chris Patten. The EU foreign minister would be responsible for handling the EU's external relations and would also serve as vice-president of the European Commission. The new post would also eventually have an "external action service" or a diplomatic service to provide back-up. If Solana is named to the office, it would mean the end of compatriot Joaquin Almunia's EU career after recently replacing Pedro Solbes as commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, as the big member states are slated to give up their second office in the next commission. However, the Spaniard may not be the only one interested in the job. A wave of speculation in German media last year said that German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was also keen on position. (EUobserver.com)

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