Charming candidate

Former Portuguese defence minister António Vitorino could emerge as the new President of the European Commission.

Vitorino, a multilingual constitutional lawyer and European commissioner, has apparently already impressed the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is described as a liberal-minded and experienced technocrat with a gift for finding compromises on a range of issues.

In an article in the Financial Times newspaper, Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, says Vitorino “combines intelligence with charm. EU leaders need to get this appointment right,” he writes. “Unless they find someone who can give the Brussels bureaucracy a more human face, restore staff morale and work constructively with national governments, they will condemn the Commission to further decline.”

The new president is due to take over on November 1 and will serve for five years.