Monday, 10 August 2009

Blogs translated (2): The Unreformed Commission

In a longer article on Le Taurillon titled "The Commission dies but does not reform itself", author Laurent Leylekian writes about the European Commission, which, despite the changes over the last 10 years, is still unable to adapt to the the necessities of our days.

I have only translated the last chapter of this article, because it contains the most pertinent questions:
Not the Commission?

You could multiply the examples, and go more into detail, but let us remain brief:

Europe has changed, the world has changed, and the Commission has kept a structure that is basically unchanged, looking as if it was totally unadapted until today.

The most naïve observer could be astonished that there is no Directorate General on Sustainable Development: Is it still serious to consider "Environment" separately, like a cosmetic DG separated from the "serious" subjects such as Transport or Energy? Sure, the DG Transport and Energy seem to care about climate change and renewable energies, but is it not quite expensive or even counter-productive seeing the rivalries it might cause to separate this DG from the DG Environment?

Do we also need a sizeable DG Enlargement given that the obvious and urgent need would rather be a deepening of the Union? Shouldn't a large part of this DG - the one that dealt with the great enlargement of the ten new member states - merge with the DG Regional Policy in order to foster a new ambitious momentum for the European cohesion policy, in particular supporting the Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund?

In the same way, shouldn't we finally create a large DG Privileged Relations giving substance to the explicit political will to treat the countries in the eastern neighbourhood differently - by extracting them from DG External Relations and treating in parallel those states covered by the Eastern Partnership and some others negotiating with the Union?

Finally, do we need to artificially maintain - in accordance with the number of Commissioners - the unchanged DGs whose substance has been removed to a large extend by creating according external executive agencies such as those for Research, for Health, Consumers, or for Education, the Audiovisual and Culture?

It is clear that a serious audit of the Commission and its adequacy for the European project as of today is necessary before answering these difficult questions. But they need to be asked.
These are excellent questions, and despite the fact that most of us are still focussing on the changes the Lisbon Treaty might bring about, they will need an answer in the near future!

Do you think the Commission will be able to find the right answers?