Spain pushes Solana as EU foreign minister

May 21, 2004 at 1:45 PM
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BRUSSELS, May 21 (UPI) -- Spain's new socialist government is campaigning for Javier Solana to become the European Union's first foreign minister, the Financial Times reported Friday.

However, the process is still a work in progress until the union's 25 countries vote on a constitution next month.

Solana already holds the office of the EU's "high representative" on foreign and security polices. And the European Commission, the union's executive arm already has Chris Patten as its "external relations chief."

To give the EU a more coherent foreign policy, the new constitution would combine both jobs, making the vice-president of the new European Commission the foreign minister.

Another issue is when the foreign minister's job will become a reality. Some countries want the job to begin this November, the same time as the new commission. But the foreign minister's job is part of the constitution and may have to wait until the constitution is ratified.

Ireland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, hopes to decide the top commission and council jobs at next month's EU summit, the newspaper said.

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