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Liikanen turns down offer of top broadcasting job
EU Commissioner still in line for Bank of Finland appointment
Erkki Liikanen (SDP), a former Minister of Finance and the current EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, has reportedly turned down the position of Director-General of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), after it was offered to him by the Social Democrats.
According to information received by Helsingin Sanomat, Liikanen considered the matter, but relatively soon announced that it was not for him.
The present YLE Director-General Arne Wessberg is soon to retire, and a successor is being sought with all speed. The choice should be made in the course of this year, as a new D-G - who is the effective managing director of the company - is scheduled to step in to the position from the beginning of 2005.
The task of Director-General of Finland's public service broadcaster has been politically allocated to the Social Democrats. Even though the appointment is officially in the hands of the 21-member Administrative Council, which is in turn elected by Parliament during the first session of each new term, in practice the job is an SDP fiefdom.
The Centre Party in turn has Seppo Härkönen as the current Director of Radio and the National Coalition Party's man Olli -Pekka Heinonen is Director of TV. Heinonen is a former Minister of Transport and Communications.
The search for someone to follow Arne Wessberg has proved rather more difficult than anticipated. One name that has been mentioned in public has been that of Reijo Svento, at present the Managing Director of the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom), a co-operation and lobbying organisation in this field. A number of other candidates who have been approached have said they are not interested, including Risto Nieminen, CEO of the national lottery and gaming operator Veikkaus.
Erkki Liikanen remains one of the two fancied candidates for the position of Governor of the Bank of Finland. As was noted in yesterday's issue, the Bank 's Parliamentary Supervisory Council is to meet today with Liikanen and Sixten Korkman, Director-General of the Council of the European Union. Liikanen has expressed a desire to return to Finland after a lengthy stint in Brussels, where he was also a member of the European Commission under Jacques Santer.