Italian ex premier eyes top post in European Commission

Italy's candidate for the European Commission Paolo Gentiloni on Friday had an hour's talks with European Commission President-designate Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, ANSA reported. Gentiloni, chairman of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), is a former premier and former foreign and farm minister.

The talks are aimed at helping the former German defence minister to complete her team which she will unveil on Tuesday. Gentiloni is said to be in pole position for the post of Economic Affairs commissioner, replacing Pierre Moscovici of France. Failing that, Rome is hoping to place him at the trade portfolio, with a post as vice president too. Another option could be the competition portfolio, Italian sources in Brussels said.

Gentiloni was named as Italian candidate for the European Commission after the new cabinet of Giuseppe Conte was born on Thursday.

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