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Former Finnish leader named new EU economics chief

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The president of the EU executive, the European Commission, says Finland's former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is becoming the 28-nation bloc's new top economic official.

Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday Katainen is succeeding fellow countryman Olli Rehn as Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. Rehn is resigning to takes a seat in the European Parliament next week.

The EU's Economics Commissioner has an important role in policing the budgets and economic policies of the bloc's member states. The commissioner also helps oversee the bailouts that have been granted to struggling eurozone members like Greece.

Katainen had announced in April he would step down to pursue a European position. It wasn't immediately clear whether he would keep the role beyond this fall, when the entire Commission's term expires.

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