Friday 12 June 2009

NO! to Barroso becoming the European Council's secretary

Jean Quatremer has definitely made the quote of the day regarding the future of Barroso and the European Commission in a wonderful article titled "L'équation Barroso":
"En l’obligeant à s’exprimer devant eux, Angela Merkel et Nicolas Sarkozy veulent clairement marquer la subordination de la Commission au Conseil européen qui devient ainsi officiellement son secrétariat."
For those not familiar with the beautiful French language, here the translation:
"By forcing him [Barroso, JF] to declare himself in front of them, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are clearly highlighting the subordination of the Commission to the European Council, which will thus officially make it its secretariat."
Merkel and Sarkozy demanding a program from José Manuel Barroso means that they consider him responsible to the European Council (and to them), not to the European Parliament or to the EU citizens.

If the EP accepts Barroso, it will accept this situation and it will consequently have to work with a Commission openly being an appendix to the member states and the Council. And if it does so, it will lose power, relevance, and credibility.

MEPs have to make clear at their first session that they neither want such kind of a Commission nor such a Commission president - they have to make sure that the balance of the European institutions is not undermined by egomaniacs at the top of European member states and shifted towards more intransparency and less accountability!

So I fully share the assessment of Jean Quatremer - and also his final question:

Will our directly elected parliamentarians have the guts to stand against the European Council? - If yes, this would be a great day for the European democracy!


Ralf Grahn said...


The Commission under Barroso weakened (as a 'Secretariat' of the European Council and Council) is fairly well established. This is what I have argued in my blog; it has been borne out by a recent EPIN study with expert opinions from the European capitals; Jean Quatremer shares the assessment.

You can, however, rest assured that Barroso is going to call his programme ambitious.

Quatremer's afterthought and your demand that the European Parliament could or should show its teeth is a wonderful idea, but you have to have the wherewithal.

I have looked at the provisional numbers of the political groups (not yet fully formed) in a number of blog posts, and I invite anyone to present the realistic majorities a) against Barroso, and b) for a specific candidate.

Show me the possibilities, and I will be happy to trumpet them to the world.

Julien Frisch said...


I know that the Commission has been downgraded over the last years, and I also know that the majorities are not favourable for anyone but Barroso.

But even EPP MEPs have to think whether they accept a Commission president that actively makes himself the lapdog of the member states.

If the EPP follows stupidly what is proposed to them and if the groups and MEPs to the right (and maybe within ALDE) do so too, than there is no realistic chance.

But as long as we are not there, we have to keep the fight up!