Former Finland PM heads to Brussels, eyeing top job

HELSINKI - Finland on Wednesday put forward Jyrki Katainen for a job in the European Commission in Brussels, with the former prime minister eyeing the presidency of the EU executive body.

Katainen, 42, announced in April that he would resign to pursue a career in Brussels and has made no secret of his intentions to be considered a compromise candidate if member states cannot agree on the controversial appointment of former Luxembourg leader Jean-Claude Juncker.

"The government has decided ... to appoint Jyrki Katainen as Finland's candidate for the European Commission for the period July 1 to October 31," authorities said in a statement.

Katainen's move to Brussels follows the departure of compatriot Olli Rehn, who was in charge of the economics portfolio at the EU executive.

Rehn, a commissioner since 2004, was elected to the European Parliament on May 25.

The new Finnish prime minister will be 46-year-old Alexander Stubb, elected by the ruling conservative party on Saturday to form a new government.

Stubb should be officially appointed by President Sauli Niinistoe in the next days.