14 SEP 2010
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER /BRUSSELS - Eight candidates have declared an interest in becoming the permanent head of the EU's most sensitive security organ, the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen).
French diplomat Patrice Bergamini, who was recently appointed as SitCen caretaker manager by EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton, is in a strong position to lobby for the €15,000-a-month permanent post, advertised by Ms Ashton earlier this month.
His caretaker role is limited to giving political direction to the intelligence-sharing bureau and to liaising with Ms Ashton and EU ambassadors, however. SitCen's day-to-day operations are being run by a French intelligence officer from inside the bureau, who is to step down in February.
The director of Austria's Federal Agency for State Protection and Counter Terrorism, Peter Gridling, is also in the running, EUobserver has learned. British, German and Italian candidates from diplomatic and security backgrounds have come forward as well.
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