Final Word from Tuesday, May 20, 2003

New EU member-countries will get a commissioner when they join the Union on May 1, 2004, but it's not yet clear if they'll get to keep the post after the new EU Constitution takes effect. So far, more discussion has been directed at what happens with the Constitution than at identifying possible candidates for commissioner. Soon this will be a hot topic, though. Diplomats we've spoken to say there'll be three key criteria: 1) it should be a current or former minister; 2) he or she should speak good English (and perhaps French); and 3) he or she should have a broad European outlook. The list of possible names isn't long and would perhaps include Petra Buzková, Vladimír Dlouhý, Pavel Mertlík, Ivan Pilip, Jiří Rusnok and Cyril Svoboda. Political considerations would perhaps eliminate several of them right way. If the future of the Špidla cabinet looks dark around the end of this year, Svoboda might decide he'd like the job.


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