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Portugese PM Elected Euro Commission's President

Statement by President Prodi on the designation of José Manuel Durão Barroso

It gave me great pleasure to learn that the Portuguese Prime Minister is to be the next President of the European Commission -- first, because of José Durão Barroso's personal merits; second, because it recognises Portugal's constructive participation in the European integration process; and third, because it sends a signal of the European Union's restored unity. This decision underlines Portugal's symbolic value as an EU success story and it acknowledges the abilities of the country's leadership, people and institutions, its productive capacity and its social achievements.

Mr Durão Barroso's designation also gives me pleasure because it demonstrates once more the Union's ability to reach agreement on thorny issues, just a few days after the Constitution was approved. We have gone through some difficult times and other difficulties will surely lie ahead, but we are tackling them in the right way and José Manuel Durão Barroso is the right person to hold this office of great responsibility and sensitivity.

To Bertie Ahern too, who holds the helm of government of another country that represents an EU success story, I offer my compliments for the outstanding diplomatic skill he has shown in bringing the Union to agreement and unanimity on matters of great complexity. The Irish Presidency is one we will long remember.

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