Prodi willing to stay on as Commission President

Commission President Romano Prodi has stated that he is willing to serve another term as president if EU leaders ask him to continue with enhanced powers.

According to the Financial Times, officials close to Mr Prodi say that he would not campaign for the job, yet he was prepared to continue after 2004 if he was asked by the European Council. Mr Prodi was a unanimous choice of the 15 EU leaders in 1999, yet his popularity has fallen since then.

Mr Prodi dismissed press reports about the possibility of his second mandate at the helm of the Commission. His spokesman Reijo Kemppinen rejected the reports as "pure invention".

Mr Prodi has indicated in the past that he would expect to have more power over the Commission if he had a second term. He also proposed a reform of the enlarged Commission after the EU's enlargement to 10 new Member States. According to his proposals there would be an inner core of commissioners, making all important decisions.

Mr Prodi has led the current Commission since 1999, and has overseen successful enlargement talks with 10 future EU members and a smooth introduction of the euro, which were his main objectives. His critics say that Mr Prodi failed to assert the Commission's role vis-a-vis the Council.


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