Ansip Gets Cabinet Nod as European Commissioner Candidate (5)
At Thursday's Cabinet meeting, members approved Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas's plan to nominate Estonia's most popular politician as a candidate for European commissioner.
Andrus Ansip, just elected to the European Parliment with the largest number of votes received during Sunday's election, told ETV that he was geared toward dealing with finances, energy and regional affairs - the fields where Estonia gets most of its EU funding - if he was selected for the executive post.
"Foreign relations fields are also of interest to me - development aid, neighborhood policy - certainly areas where an Estonian commissioner would hold a certain edge over Western Europeans," he said.
Ansip's strengths cited by the Reform and Social Democratic ministers were his long-term experience - he was the longest-serving prime minister in Europe when he stepped down in March - and the strength of his mandate in the recent European elections, where he received 45,022 votes.
If Ansip does become commissioner in November, either Foreign Minister Urmas Paet or MP Igor Gräzin would take his place.
Thursday's Cabinet decision is an optional step. The actual appointment process starts once the European Commission president has been elected and calls for nomination of Estonia's candidate.