Europe's Impossible Job

THIERRY ROGE/REUTERS

THEN AND NOW: Prodi has been largely overshadowed by national leaders while Delors presided over a powerful Commission

Unlike most elections, the race to become European Commission President takes place behind closed doors. There's no real campaigning (just lots of backroom dealing) and only 25 people have a say — the heads of the E.U. member states. Usually, the best man for the job is defined as the candidate who's least offensive. It's a strange way to pick a top dog, but then again, the Commission presidency is a strange office. The President is the guardian of E.U. treaties that he and his institution have no direct say in formulating; he's the E.U.'s highest executive authority yet his voice...

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