Germany backs Portugal's Barroso as EU chief

28th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 June 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Sunday threw his weight behind the candidacy of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to become European Commission president. "Barroso can count on Germany's support in the election of the new EU Commission president," Schroeder said prior to departure for Monday's Istanbul NATO summit. Schroeder also said he would seek a greater economic role for Germany in EU Commission affairs. He said he had conferred with Christian Democratic o

28 June 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Sunday threw his weight behind the candidacy of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to become European Commission president.

"Barroso can count on Germany's support in the election of the new EU Commission president," Schroeder said prior to departure for Monday's Istanbul NATO summit.

Schroeder also said he would seek a greater economic role for Germany in EU Commission affairs. He said he had conferred with Christian Democratic opposition leader Angela Merkel, whose conservatives control the upper house of the German parliament.

"I've spoken to Ms Merkel on this issue and we both agree it would be good if Germany as the largest European economy were given special economic policy responsibilities," Schroeder said.

His remarks came after Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern asked EU leaders to back Barroso as the bloc's new chief executive.

A statement by Ahern, whose country holds the EU presidency, said the bloc's 25 leaders would meet in Brussels on Tuesday to formally approve Barroso's appointment as the next president of the European Commission.

If his name is formally approved by EU leaders, Barroso will take over from current European Commission President Romano Prodi on 31 October.

Barroso's appointment must be endorsed by the newly-elected European Parliament and he will be quizzed by deputies in late-July.

Proposal of Barroso comes after weeks of bitter wrangles among EU leaders over the next Commission chief.

Britain and Italy torpedoed a bid by France and Germany to install Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt as Prodi's successor at an EU summit in Brussels last week.

A number of other politicians were proposed and swiftly abandoned.

DPA

Subject: German news

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