Indian-origin minister tipped to be European Commissioner: report

June 29th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, June 29 (IANS) A powerful Indian-origin minister is likely to be appointed the next European Commissioner from Britain, a newspaper reported Monday.
Shriti Vadera, an ex-banker who is now a minister for business and a formidable ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is tipped to be his choice to fill Britain’s place in the next European Commission, The Times reported.

“Lady Vadera’s chances of landing a five-year stint in Brussels have risen sharply in recent weeks thanks to lobbying from the current European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso,” the newspaper said.

It quoted unnamed senior government officials as saying Barroso is urging Brown to nominate a female candidate.

It said officials believed that “if he (Brown) becomes convinced that he is more likely to win for Britain the coveted position of Competition Commissioner by nominating Lady Vadera, he will not hesitate to propose” her name.

Vadera, an economist who has served as a key Brown aide since his days as Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), is controversial for her tough dealings with civil servants and is said to have enemies and admirers in equal measure.

The paper said contenders for the post include former defence minister Geoff Hoon.

It said the current Briton in the European Commission, former leader of the House of Lords Catherine Ashton, who was sent to Brussels last year to replace Peter Mandelson as Trade Commissioner, “is thought to have only a slim chance of holding on to her job, partly because she lacks the backing of Lord Mandelson”.

Brown brought Mandelson back to London and made him Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, appointing Vadera a minister in that department.

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