Greek set for key EC post

Ruling PASOK deputy Maria Damanaki was yesterday nominated European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, a key portfolio in Brussels with particular interest for Greece, where commercial shipping makes a significant contribution to the economy. Damanaki, who entered Greek politics after playing a leading role in the student resistance to the junta in the early 1970s and joined socialist PASOK after a brief spell as chairwoman of left-wing Synaspismos in the early 1990s, was named as Greece’s choice for commissioner earlier this week. But her nomination to a specific portfolio, along with that of another 26 others from the other EU member states, was announced yesterday by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. If Damanaki’s nomination is approved by the European Parliament in January or February, the 57-year-old would then take over from Maltese Joe Borg, who has held the post for the past five years, and become Greece’s new representative in Brussels, replacing Stavros Dimas who has been Environment Commissioner since 2004. Addressing a session of ruling PASOK MEPs at Zappeio Hall in central Athens yesterday before the news of her nomination, Damanaki stressed the importance of reforms to the EU ahead of the scheduled enforcement next month of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to streamline the workings of the EC and raise its profile on the world stage. «The EU needs a new reformist agenda aimed at ensuring its economic survival, preserving common values and boosting its relationship to citizens,» Damanaki said. Commenting on her nomination, Stavros Lambrinidis, the head of PASOK’s group of MEPs in Brussels, said Damanaki was «the personification of knowledge and respectability.» Meanwhile Dimas, stressed the importance of all countries doing their bit to curb the carbon dioxide emissions that boost global warming. «A global effort is needed to reduce emissions by 2020 and to avert an increase of 2 percent in average temperatures,» Dimas said, noting that developed countries must reduce their emissions by 25-40 percent and developing countries by 15-30 percent.

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