Former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik is one of the contenders to become the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. The post carries enhanced powers under the bloc’s Lisbon reform treaty, compared with the positions it is amalgamating. The holder will also head an external action service designed to give the EU more influence on the world stage.
The conservative Plassnik is a prominent pro-EU voice in Austria where many people are eurosceptics. If Plassnik got the job, she would be somewhat following in the footsteps of a compatriot. Austria’s designate in the outgoing European Commission, Mrs Benita Ferroro-Waldner, is responsible for EU external relations.