If the leaders of the EU member states encounter difficulties in electing the President of the European Council, Finland can offer two pro-Europeans with solid merits: Paavo Lipponen is a former Prime Minister, with an impressive record of good governance. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, is known for his peace-brokering missions. Both belong to the Social Democratic camp.
Still, the number one preference of the current centre-right coalition government in Finland would be for the present EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to become the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Their second option would be for Rehn to grab the Economic and Monetary Affairs portfolio.
Even if Finland is just one among 27 member states, the merits of these candidates have been noticed by international media. It is too early to tell, what European Council horse-trading in the wee hours may bring about.
On the domestic scene, the discussion has not been exempt from party political viewpoints.
The International edition of the largest Finnish Daily, Helsingin Sanomat, has published an article written by the paper’s Brussels correspondent Annamari Sipilä, ”Olli Rehn focuses on economic affairs in preparation for EU Commission portfolio shuffle” (21 October 2009 in English, 17 October in the Finnish print version).