Spain seeks post in European Commission for energy minister, Sanchez says

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will seek a senior climate-related post in the European Commission for Energy Minister Teresa Ribera, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.

Following Sunday's European Parliament election, which bolstered Sanchez's standing as a leading figure on the centre-left, the European Union's 27 member states are due to start negotiating for top jobs at the Commission, the body that enforces EU policies.

"We are pushing for a potent climate-related position in the European Commission (EC)," Sanchez said in an interview on state broadcaster TVE.

Each country is entitled to appoint one EC member. Ribera, a technocrat who led Sanchez's socialist party during the election, was widely expected to be Spain's pick.

Ribera has served as Spain's environment minister for six years and shepherded an ambitious green agenda, championing a transition to a zero-carbon economy.

"It will be a significant loss for the Spanish government as we are talking about a woman who is hyper-competent and committed," he said, adding he already had an idea as to who would replace her in his cabinet.

During her tenure, Ribera was influential in Brussels, where she was a proponent of the European Union's energy market reform. She also convinced her counterparts to approve a cap on gas prices in Spain and Portugal to shield consumers from inflation during the cost-of-living crisis that followed the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by Charlie Devereux and Shinjini Ganguli)