Richard North, 06/05/2004  

Has another contender entered the competition for the not-so-desirable job of the European Commission President? As Romano Prodi abandons all pretence at EU politics and concentrates entirely on the forthcoming Italian elections, when he hopes to beat Silvio Berlusconi, who currently holds the record of heading the longest Italian government since 1946, the leaders of EU countries are beginning to look a little panicky. Next month they will have to choose Prodi’s successor and there are not too many contenders.

However, another possibility has emerged: Pat Cox, the President of the European Parliament, has confirmed that he will not be standing in the next European parliamentary elections and has refused to tell his colleagues or the media what his future plans might be. But he has not dismissed out of hand speculations that he will apply for Prodi’s job.

In fact, he may well have flagged the potential up. “Europe has been the cause of my political life. I will continue serving that cause in any way I can," he said.

Shall we see a head-to-head confrontation between retiring Commissioner Patten and retiring President of the European Parliament Cox?

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