|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.11, 15.3.01, p7|
A NEW director-general for the European Commission's increasingly powerful economics department is unlikely to be named before the end of next month at the earliest after a marathon hiring process designed to ward off charges of political influence.
President Romano Prodi and Finance Commissioner Pedro Solbes were hoping to choose a new DG by March to replace Italian Giovanni Ravasio, who retired in February. But a complex selection procedure, involving a specially-appointed three-man board of external advisors, has extended the time needed to choose Ravasio's successor.
So far Commission personnel experts and the outside board have whittled down a list of 150 candidates for the 144,000 €-a-year job to just eight, including one internal candidate.
Prodi and Solbes created the team to protect themselves from criticism that the job would inevitably go to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's candidate, Klaus Regling, a former finance ministry official who now heads Moore Capital Strategy in London. Schröder has been lobbying Prodi hard for the post to go to his man, even bringing it up at the Nice summit in December.
Regling is still a firm favourite because of his finance experience and first-hand knowledge of capital markets - an unusual commodity in the public sector.
But the pressure from Schröder has put Prodi in a potentially embarrassing position as he works to ensure that top jobs are awarded on merit, not nationality. The Commission president was accused by unions of failing to follow correct procedures when he moved his own spokesman, Ricardo Levi, into a top policy role.
Commission officials fear the length of time taken to fill the top economics job could deter potential outside candidates for similar posts in the future. Traditionally, director-generalships have almost always been filled by internal candidates.
A new director-general for the European Commission's increasingly powerful economics department is unlikely to be named before the end of April 2001 at the earliest after a marathon hiring process designed to ward off charges of political influence.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|