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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 17:28 GMT
Romanian EU commissioner accepted
Leonard Orban
The European Commission has welcomed Romania's second nominee to become a commissioner, after its first candidate was forced to withdraw.

Leonard Orban, Romania's deputy EU integration minister, has been lined up as commissioner for multilingualism.

He was put forward after Varujan Vosganian withdrew amid allegations of corruption and secret police links.

Commission President Jose Manual Barroso said Mr Orban would be "a great member of my Commission".

"Mr Orban was one of the main people responsible for Romania's EU accession," Mr Barroso said.

Like all commissioners, Mr Orban will have to be grilled by the European Parliament before he can take up his post.

Carve up

The arrival of the Romanian commissioner, and a commissioner from Bulgaria, will leave the commission with 27 members, forcing Mr Barroso to carve up some of the existing portfolios.

Mr Barroso approved Bulgarian Europe Minister Meglena Kuneva on Friday, giving her the role of consumer protection commissioner.

Reports had suggested that Romania's candidate would be given responsibility for the EU's customs union.

Mr Orban, 45, has taken part in Romania's negotiations with the European Union since 2001, and signed the accession treaty in April 2005.

First candidate

Romania's first choice for the job, Mr Vosganian, met Mr Barroso in Brussels on Thursday but was not immediately approved.

The Socialist group in the European Parliament said they wanted to further explore Mr Vosganian's "acceptance of European standards and European values".

Mr Vosganian said the allegations against him were baseless, but withdrew his candidacy to avoid damaging Romania's image.


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