New EU chief denies portfolio a snub to France

20th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Aug 20 (AFP) - European Commission chief-in-waiting Jose Manuel Durao Barroso denied Friday that France had got a bad deal by being given the relatively lightweight transport portfolio in his new EU executive.

BRUSSELS, Aug 20 (AFP) - European Commission chief-in-waiting Jose Manuel Durao Barroso denied Friday that France had got a bad deal by being given the relatively lightweight transport portfolio in his new EU executive.

"My commission reflects the political sensibilities in power in Europe and it seems very balanced from an ideological point of view," he said in an interview with key European newspapers.

Barroso announced his new 25-member Commission last week, giving key economic portfolios to EU heavyweights Germany and Britain, while naming French nominee Jacques Barrot as his choice for transport commissioner.

Some critics have suggested French President Jacques Chirac would have been better to have supported outgoing EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy - seen as a heavyweight over the last five years - as his nominee in Brussels.

Barroso dismissed the discussion as "a domestic political issue."

"It is the fourth largest budget in the Union and Jacques Barrot will have his hand on the maritime, air and railway agencies," he said, adding that he wanted to make Barrot one of his "closest colleagues."

The Barroso interview was given to the French daily Le Figaro, Britain's Financial Times, Spanish daily El Pais and Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung to mark the first meeting of the new Commission members for informal talks in Brussels.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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