EU Commissioners Still Leading, Despite Resignations

For the next several days at least, Sir Leon Brittan, the European Commission's top trade official, will continue to battle the U.S. on bananas and beef, and Karel Van Miert, the commission's antitrust chief, will continue to review mergers involving U.S. and European Union (EU) companies. They, and the other 18 members of the EU's executive body, along with Commission President Jacques Santer, have resigned in the wake of this week's scathing independent report accusing the commission of financial mismanagement. The earliest the commission, which has broad regulatory authority and exercises day-to-day control over EU affairs, could be reconstituted is at a previously scheduled summit meeting in Berlin on Mar. 24-25. However, a new commission might not be appointed until after European parliamentary elections are held in June. Expectations are that Brittan and most of the other commissioners will be retained. Santer, essentially the commission's CEO, is given little chance of getting another chance, however.

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