Monti set for competition position in EC

Monti set for competition position in EC

MARIO Monti, the European commissioner responsible for pushing through the abolition duty-free, is set to be appointed commissioner for competition following a high-level reshuffle.

The competition brief includes ruling on sensitive competition issues and takeovers, such as the Airtours' bid for First Choice.

Monti will replace Karel Van Miert, who has not been proposed as a member of the new European Commission line-up.

The team, put together by new EC president Romano Prodi, has yet to receive approval from the European parliament. It is due to make a decision in mid-September.

The candidate for Monti's old job as commissioner responsible for taxation and the internal market is Frits Bolkestein, a former minister of defence in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, tourism is to be transferred from the commissioner responsible for small and medium-sized businesses to the commissioner for culture and education.

The tourism job is set to be given to Viviane Reding, a former newspaper editor in Luxembourg and a member of the European Parliament since 1989.

TABLE: Proposed members of the European Commission

Competition: Mario Monti, Italy.

Commissioner for the internal market since 1995. A hardline supporter of the internal market, who pushed hard for the abolition of duty-free. Academic background as professor of economics at Bocconi University, and later the university'spresident.

Internal Market (including taxation): Frits Bolkestein, TheNetherlands.

Former director of the oil company Shell, he was elected to the Netherlands parliament as a member of the Liberal Party. Later appointed minister for foreign trade and then minister of defence for the Netherlands.

Education and culture (including tourism): Viviane Reding,Luxembourg.

Member of the European Parliament since 1989, and a member of Luxembourg's parliament for the 10 years before that. Former newspaper editor.

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