First EU president to be picked Nov 19November 10th, 2009 - 11:36 pm ICT by IANS
Brussels, Nov 10 (DPA) European Union (EU) leaders are expected to choose the first ever president of the 27-member bloc next week, at a summit scheduled for Nov 19, diplomats in Brussels said Tuesday.
By then, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who is coordinating the negotiations, plans to have ended consultations with the EU member states - enabling the EU leaders to fill two new high-profile EU posts Nov 19.
Sweden currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
Swedish officials Tuesday said that Reinfeldt was still in the process of calling EU counterparts to find out their preferred candidates for the two top jobs.
The Swedish premier is scheduled to address the European Parliament in Brussels Wednesday, raising speculation that he might name a summit date during the visit.
The EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which creates the positions of president and foreign policy director, is expected to come into force Dec 1. National leaders are currently debating who should get the jobs.
According to diplomats in Brussels, the prime ministers of Belgium and the Netherlands, Herman Van Rompuy and Jan Peter Balkenende, are front-runners to claim the post of EU president.
Meanwhile British Premier Gordon Brown denied that his foreign minister, David Miliband, was a candidate for the foreign policy role. The leading contender for this post is believed to be former Italian prime minister Massimo D’Alema.
According to an agreement between European socialists and conservatives, the president’s job is expected to go to a conservative politician, while a socialist is tipped to get the foreign representative’s job.
On Tuesday, German socialist members of the European Parliament said that D’Alema was the group’s preferred candidate. However, the parliament is not directly involved in the nomination process, which is controlled by national governments.
Last week, Poland’s ambassador to the EU said that D’Alema was not a popular candidate in Central and Eastern Europe because of his close ties to the Italian Communist party.
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Tags: conservative politician, david miliband, eu member states, european socialists, front runners, gordon brown, herman van rompuy, italian prime minister, jan peter balkenende, members of the european parliament, minister david, national governments, national leaders, policy director, preferred candidate, preferred candidates, prime minister fredrik reinfeldt, prime ministers, swedish officials, swedish prime minister