France's Moscovici set for EU economy role, under supervision

Mon Sep 1, 2014 11:05am EDT
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Former French finance minister Pierre Moscovici has a "good chance" of being named to the European Commission's top economic and monetary job, a French diplomatic source said on Monday, as attention turned to the line-up of the next EU executive.

EU leaders on Saturday appointed Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk as the next president of the European Council, chairing and preparing policymaking EU summits, and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini as foreign policy chief.

European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, who was chosen in July, is expected to unveil the new EU executive team early next week, a Commission source said.

Juncker is still battling member states to get more women nominees to avert a possible clash with the European Parliament.

One of his most sensitive choices is over the position of economic and monetary affairs commissioner, responsible for overseeing national budgets.

Paris has been pushing Moscovici, a Keynesian Socialist dropped from President Francois Hollande's government in a reshuffle in April, for the key role as part of its campaign along with Italy for a greater emphasis on promoting growth and more flexibility in reducing deficits.

Moscovici has said he believes it is crucial for Europe to refocus on growth and jobs via higher investments. However, Germany has voiced reservations about France's interest in the powerful role.

The French diplomatic talked up Moscovici's chances after Hollande talked to Juncker on the sidelines of Saturday's EU summit in Brussels.

The Commission source said a compromise may be to give Moscovici the portfolio but place him under the supervision of a Commission vice-president in overall charge of economic policy such as former Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, a stickler for fiscal discipline.   Continued...

Former French Finance Minister and France's candidate for the European Commission Pierre Moscovici gestures during his meeting with Greece's Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos (not pictured) in Athens August 27, 2014. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis