The European Parliament has approved the former Italian premier Romano Prodi as European Commission President. MEPs voted by 403 to 153 in favour of appointing the new 20-member executive for a five-year term.

The appointments will end a crisis that has paralysed the EU executive since last March, when the previous Commission under Jacques Santer resigned en masse over fraud and mismanagement allegations. The new team will hold office until January 2005.