Latvian former President Vaira Vike Freiberga for the European Union’s first full-time president would go some way to satisfying gender equality calls. She is the only candidate who is openly campaigning for the position.
Her university professor background includes psychopharmacology, cognitive processes and psycholinguistics, much of it acquired in Canada, after her early education in Morocco. She is fluent in at least five European languages. In some eyes, however, Vike-Freiberga remains an outside bet. It has been said that the new top EU jobholder should be from a country that participates in all the bloc’s policies. Latvia only joined the EU in 2004. Its economy is in rough shape and it is nowhere near adopting the euro. Vike-Freiberga takes a positive approach, though, saying that coming from a small member state will complement her ability to broker compromises, and that her nomination would be a strong symbol of a new Europe.