Dutch cabinet wants PM for itself

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Deputy prime minister speaks on behalf of the entire cabinet and says they don’t want to lose Balkenende to the European Union presidency.

The Hague -- The Dutch government does not want to lose Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to the European Union presidency, his deputy, Wouter Bos, said on Friday.

"I think that I speak on behalf of the entire cabinet when I say that we would rather continue with the current team. Because we started out together," Bos, also finance minister, told journalists after the weekly cabinet meeting.

EU leaders met in Brussels this week and agreed to hold another summit in November to debate candidates for the first-ever EU president.

Balkenende, leader of the Christian Democratic party in the Netherlands, has repeatedly stated that he is not a candidate for the post but is often mentioned as a contender in the media.

The new job is created by the Lisbon EU reform treaty, widely expected to be ratified within weeks by the Czech Republic, the only one of the bloc's 27 member nations not to have done so.

Others linked to the new post include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Luxembourg's premier Jean-Claude Juncker, Latvian's former head of state Vaira Vike-Freiberga, and ex-Irish leader John Bruton.

AFP / Expatica

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