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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 05:25 GMT

World: Europe

Succession intrigue fills the pages

Romano Prodi: Tipped to replace Jacques Santer

Click here for a review of the UK press.

Speculation about who will be the next president of the European Commission fills the pages of this morning's European papers.

EU in crisis
Austria's Die Presse bets on ex Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Nato Secretary General, Javier Solana.

But La Repubblica in Rome has no doubts that the front-runner is Mr Prodi: " He is favoured by Great Britain, has the support of Germany and is not opposed by France", argues the paper.

La Stampa in Milan publishes an opinion piece by Prodi himself where he talks of his "passion for Europe".

Il Corriere Della Sera, however, has chosen a more cynical approach to Prodi's candidacy. The paper's front-page cartoon depicts their former prime minister as a naive-looking fish ready to bite the European hook.

In Munich, the Suddeutsche Zeitung looks at the horse-trading taking place in Bonn on the two German members for the new European Commission. The paper reports on the disappointment in the opposition CDU party since, contrary to a longstanding tradition, both posts will be filled by members of the two government parties: the SPD and the Greens.

And giving it to the Greens, says the Neue Zurcher, is the price the SPD had to pay in order to gain the Green's support for their candidate in the election of the next German president.

Meanwhile, France's Le Figaro looks at the Kosovo peace talks, and what the paper calls "a dialogue of deaf people" between the Serbs and the Western powers. The paper wonders whether President Milosevic's hidden agenda is to get bombed by Nato. "This can be the only logical explanation for his attitude" states the paper.

Le Soir in Brussels comments on plans by Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, to restore confidence in the organisation. Samaranch's proposals include setting up a group of external advisors to guide the functioning of the Committee. "Certainly not a luxury after the latest scandal", concludes the paper.

And in London, The Guardian makes its main story the renewed violence in Northern Ireland. It says a feud has erupted among Protestant paramilitary groups following the death of a Roman Catholic human rights lawyer, Rosemary Nelson, in a car bombing on Monday.

On its front page, the paper also highlights the plight of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her British husband Michael Aris, who has been diagnosed cancer. The paper quotes a friend as saying he's desperate to be allowed into Burma to say a final goodbye to his wife.

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