From Times Online:
The leading female contender to be chosen as Europe’s first president yesterday challenged her male rivals to an open contest, and criticised the secretive carve-up of the EU’s top job.
Known as VVF, the formidable Vaira Vike-Freiberga is furious at the suggestion that there are no suitably qualified women to run the EU — and at the squalid selection process taking place behind the scenes.
Twice President of Latvia, she is one of the few openly declared candidates for the EU presidency and is well equipped to become the face of Europe among a field of grey men. Her remarkable early life, fleeing across Europe from the front lines of the Second World War, was followed by a distinguished academic career and eight years as President, steering Latvia into the EU and Nato.
Mrs Vike-Freiberga, who was nominated by the Baltic states to be UN Secretary-General after the departure of Kofi Annan in 2006, said that her programme for the EU presidency would be guided by pragmatism, rejecting ideologies such as federalism. Since leaving the Latvian presidency two years ago she has joined a group of senior politicians drawing up plans for the EU and is a frequent visitor to Brussels.