August 31, 2014 / 8:12 AM / 4 years ago

Denmark to get new economy minister after EU Commission nomination

Danish Economy Minister Margrethe Vestager, whose country currently holds the rotating Presidency of EU, holds a news conference at the end of an EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s prime minister has nominated her economy minister, Margrethe Vestager, for a post in the European Commission, leading to a small cabinet reshuffle as the country struggles with an economic slowdown a year before an election.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told Danish television TV2 News of the move in the early hours of Sunday after failing to be appointed herself as the new president of the EU Council. That post went to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Vestager leads the Social Liberal Party, a coalition partner to Thorning-Schmidt’s Social Democrats. It is not yet clear what post she will get in the commission.

Party sources have said Denmark’s current tax minister, Morten Ostergaard, is likely to replace her as party leader.

It is not yet clear, however, whether he would take over the economy ministry. The party is expected to meet later on Sunday to elect a new leader. Polls show the parties that tend to ally themselves with the Social Democrats trailing by almost 10 percent those that group around the opposition Liberal Party.

“I would very much like for Denmark to get an important and weighty post as commissioner in the next commission. If you want to achieve that, you have to send a very qualified candidate ... Margrethe Vestager is a very qualified candidate,” Thorning-Schmidt told the television news channel.

The summit in Brussels named Tusk, a Kremlin critic from ex-communist Eastern Europe, to one of the top posts in the 28-member bloc just as it is trying to defuse a conflict in Ukraine and a standoff with Russia. Thorning-Schmidt had been a front runner for that position.

Reporting by Erik Matzen; Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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