France's Lagarde laughs off report of EU post

14th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde shrugged of a report claiming she is about to become Europe's competition commissioner.

Paris – French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde on Wednesday shrugged off a German newspaper report that she is about to become Europe's competition commissioner.

"And why not become the coach for PSG then?" Lagarde told journalists, referring to the Paris-Saint-Germain football club.

"I'm trying to do the best possible job I can in the government as finance minister," she added.

The German daily Die Welt quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the 53-year-old minister and former corporate lawyer would replace Dutchwoman Neelie Kroes on the European Commission.

The competition commissioner is a key post and rules on antitrust cases involving some of the world's biggest companies as well as state aid issues.

An aide to President Nicolas Sarkozy said there was no intention "to send Lagarde to Brussels" while France's minister for Europe, Bruno Le Maire, described the report as "far-fetched."

Earlier, Die Welt had reported that Lagarde's supposed appointment was sewn up towards the end of April following talks between Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Paris and Brussels have frequently clashed over competition issues, most recently when the commission rapped France for its plan to bail out its automakers.

AFP / Expatica

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