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European Commission President selected

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Issue: 20 Section: International News Geography: Europe

July 21, 2004

European Commission President selected

Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal, was selected as the 11th European Union Commission President, ending a two-week stand-off between the United Kingdom and Italy, and France and Germany. The five-year presidency-the holder of which is selected by consensus of the Commission-heads what is effectively the Executive branch of the European Union.

Prime Minister Barroso was chosen as a compromise candidate by the commission, which was split by the UK and Italy's support for Britain's Chris Patten, and Germany and France's nomination of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. Mr. Barroso, who has turned Portugal back from the brink of EU expulsion for running high deficits, is seen as a possible solution to the EU's ailing economy.

Even still, there are calls from within the EU to make the position of Commission President answerable to popular election, most recently from outgoing president Romano Prodi. The current system, whereby the president is chosen by the appointed representatives of the member states, reflects the U.S. electoral college system as it existed in the first few years of the union. A move towards direct election of the president, which would undoubtedly involve a loss of power by national governments, is not expected until member states-most notably the UK-grow more comfortable within the EU.

» Bloomberg: Portugal's Durao Barroso Is Named Next EU Commission President

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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