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Buttiglione Stands Down As EU Commissioner

30 October 2004 -- A controversial Italian politician has stepped down from his designated post with the European Commission of incoming president Jose Manuel Barroso.

Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's nominee for the commission's justice and security portfolio, withdrew today after sparking a crisis at the EU executive with his conservative Roman Catholic stance on marriage and homosexuality.

Buttiglione, reading from a statement, said he was "ready to stand aside to smooth the way for Barroso's commission."

Barroso, the former Portuguese prime minister, earlier this week withdrew his proposed EU executive team in the face of a threatened veto by the European Parliament because of widespread opposition to Buttiglione.