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Estonia pitches ex-PM Ansip for EU Commission

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(TALLINN) - Estonia on Thursday pitched austerity-minded former prime minister Andrus Ansip as its candidate for the new European Commission due to take office this fall.

The government statement did not specify which job he would be seeking.

The 57-year-old stepped down as prime minister in March 2014 amid flagging popularity after holding office for nine years.

A trained chemist, Ansip began his career during the Soviet era in the Red Army where he was responsible for promoting communist party ideology at his unit.

He changed his political stripes after Estonia broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991 and joined a centre-right grouping.

He became premier in 2005 and is noted for having imposed harsh austerity measures to steer the Baltic state of 1.3 million people out of a record recession in 2008-2009 after it was hit hard by the global financial crisis.

Estonia is currently represented in the EU Commission by former prime minister Siim Kallas, who serves as its vice-president, responsible for transport.

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