BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown appeared to kill off any chance of European trade chief Peter Mandelson serving a second term at the European Commission on Thursday, saying Mandelson wanted to do something else.
“Peter Mandelson has said he doesn’t want to become the next commissioner, that he wants to do only one term,” Brown told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union summit.
Mandelson, a close ally of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, said a year ago he would not seek another spell at the EU executive after his term expires in 2009.
But newspapers said this week Brown had recently asked Mandelson about the possibility of a second term as his country’s nominee in Brussels, even though the two men are widely reported to dislike each other.
Mandelson then said he might rethink his decision. However Brown seemed to firmly rule out the possibility of Mandelson staying on.
“I think it’s important to say that Peter Mandelson has done a great job as commissioner and of course it’s his wish to do something else,” the prime minister said.
Brown noted that Mandelson was the EU’s chief negotiator in talks on a new world trade agreement, which have been making slow progress. “I will be talking to him very soon about how we can move that forward,” he said.
As trade commissioner since 2004, Mandelson negotiates trade agreements on behalf of the EU’s 27 countries and oversees other issues such as anti-dumping investigations.
Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Paul Taylor and Jon Boyle