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Finland’s next EU commissioner up to Katainen

The six government parties agreed during coalition talks that the National Coalition Party (NCP) will choose Finland’s next EU commissioner in 2014, when the term of Centre’s Olli Rehn ends. Next year’s presidential elections will likely impact Jyrki Katainen’s decision.

Alexander Stubb Image: Kari Kuukka

Appointing Finland’s EU commissioner is among the responsibilities of the prime minister. In the current administration, the two biggest parties, the NCP and the SDP, specifically confirmed that Katainen will be the one to decide on the next person to take the post.

The new Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb, appears a likely candidate, since he missed out on his former post of Foreign Minister.

The three-year wait for the EU position is however a long one, especially in the light of presidential elections next year. Stubb has said he would consider running for the post if party veteran Sauli Niinistö chooses not to become the NCP’s candidate.

On the other hand, Rehn has also been tipped among potential presidential candidates. If he were to be elected president, the EU commissioner's spot would be freed up ahead of schedule.

The president’s powers have been trimmed in recent years, particularly concerning participation in EU affairs.

Unwilling to comment on the future, Stubb says that for now he is interested in focusing on his new ministerial tasks.

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