From: Reuters
Published March 10, 2008 02:33 PM

Mandelson says might rethink decision to quit EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union trade chief Peter Mandelson said on Monday he might rethink his decision to leave the European Commission next year when his term ends.

British newspapers said Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently asked Mandelson about the possibility of a second spell as the country's representative in Brussels, even though the two men have in the past been widely reported to dislike each other.

"My mind is open on that," Mandelson told Reuters when asked about the reported approach from Brown.

Mandelson said a year ago he would not seek another spell at the European Commission after his term expires in 2009, adding that Brown could not fire him before then.

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Brown's official spokesman, asked in London whether the prime minister believed Mandelson had done a good job as commissioner, said: "The prime minister has no difficulty with the job that Peter Mandelson has done."

Pressed to elaborate, he added: "I think the prime minister would be quite comfortable for me to say that Peter Mandelson is doing a good job."

The spokesman added Brown and Mandelson had recently had a "constructive" meeting in Brussels and talked regularly.

As trade commissioner since 2004, Mandelson negotiates trade agreements on behalf of the European Union's 27 countries and oversees other issues such as anti-dumping investigations.

(Reporting by William Schomberg and Katherine Baldwin; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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