The list - which includes the Socialist former prime minister of Italy, Giuliano Amato - is being discussed in informal talks between London and other capitals in the wake of John Major's veto in Corfu of the choice of Jean-Luc Dehaene, the Belgian Prime Minister.
The slate has come to light amid growing, if still tentative, indications that John Major may finally agree to the appointment of Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader, as the second British commissioner, to succeed Bruce Millan.
British ministers are showing increasing warmth towards the idea of Mr Kinnock, whose wife, Glenys, was elected to the European Parliament last month, going to Brussels. One idea meeting approval in Whitehall is that Mr Kinnock might take the overseas aid portfolio.
The Government has no power to decide the allocation of portfolios but it could be in a strong position to exercise influence on a job for Mr Kinnock, since whoever is the new President will owe his position at least partially to Mr Major's veto of Mr Dehaene.
The EU presidency will be discussed on the margins of the G7 meeting of the leading industrialised countries in Naples at the end of this week. But the governments involved - Britain, Germany, France and Italy - are anxious to avoid any accusations of a stitch-up. Complaints by Britian that Mr Dehaene's candidacy had been privately agreed between France and Germany influenced Mr Major's decision to use the veto.
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