Prodi tries changing faces and places

July 16, 1999

European Commission president Romano Prodi this week named his proposed team of commissioners as well as their responsibilities and departments, writes Alison Goddard.

Two new faces take over responsibility for education and science from the disgraced Edith Cresson. Viviane Reding is nominated for the post of commissioner for education and culture. Philippe Busquin is the nominated commissioner for research.

Dr Reding, 58, who has been a member of the European Parliament for ten years, is a vice-president of the Christian Socialist Party of Luxembourg. She is a former columnist for the Luxembourg Wort and until last year was president of the Luxembourg Union of Journalists.

Leader of the French-speaking Socialist Party, one of Belgium's main political parties, Dr Busquin was elected to the European Parliament just last month. He was an assistant lecturer in physics at the Free University of Brussels and was a teacher trainer before entering politics in 1977.

Mr Prodi also announced a shake-up of the commission's departments to match the portfolios. A new department for education and culture will be created by splitting the existing directorate general for information and culture and fusing it with the directorate general for education and training.

The remit of the directorate general for science, research and development will include the joint research centre.

The number of departments will be cut from 42 to 36 and regrouped by subject and renamed. Prospective commissioners must be approved by the European Parliament before member states make them official on September 16.

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