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Italy’s Prodi To Lead EU Panel

May 5, 1999

STRASBOURG, France (AP) _ The European Parliament today overwhelmingly approved former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi as the new president of the European Union’s executive Commission.

By a vote of 392-72, Prodi won endorsement to lead the commission, which has been battered by mismanagement and corruption charges. There were 41 abstentions in the 626-seat assembly.

Prodi will work alongside outgoing members of the Commission, including its president Jacques Santer, until it is replaced by a new team to be chosen by the 15 EU governments in consultation with the former Italian leader. The transition is unlikely before September.

The 20 outgoing commissioners resigned en masse after a panel of independent experts appointed by the EU Parliament charged the commission with mismanagement.

Parliamentarians told Prodi they will closely monitor his oversight of the commission.

``After today, Mr. Prodi, you and what you do will be scrutinized as never before,″ Socialist Group leader Pauline Green said.

Prodi gained respect across Europe by overhauling Italy’s shaky finances so his country could meet the requirements for adopting the euro.

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