Lubbers campaign gains pace

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Brussels - The Netherlands urged European Socialists to back the Dutch candidate to succeed Jacques Delors as President of the European Commission, writes Andrew Marshall.

The appeal indicates that Ruud Lubbers, the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister, is still campaigning for the post against stiff opposition from Jean-Luc Dehaene, the Belgian Prime Minister. It is thought unlikely that a decision will be made at the forthcoming EU summit in Corfu.

Wim Kok, the outgoing Dutch Finance Minister who is likely to head the new Dutch coalition, wrote to Socialist prime ministers and party leaders in the EU asking them to support Mr Lubbers. Socialist governments in Denmark, Spain and Greece are under pressure to show their hand. Spain backs Mr Lubbers and Britain would if Sir Leon Brittan dropped out.