Saturday

10th Dec 2022

Barroso worried commission could take a hit in new EU treaty

  • Mr Barroso - worried that there will be too many chiefs in the EU (Photo: EUobserver)

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso is worried that his institution will be sidelined under the new EU treaty which potentially introduces a new power hierarchy into the European Union.

In a frank interview with Belgian newspaper de Standaard, Mr Barroso admits that he is eyeing the new treaty with some concern as it risks seeing member states circumvent both the commission and European Parliament and take decisions among themselves.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"If the new treaty is ratified, which I strongly hope, we will have to make sure that its changes are not abused to reduce the de facto power of the European institutions."

Member states are currently putting the final touches on the EU treaty which is hoped will be in force by 2009.

Amongst its most noticeable changes is the introduction of a possible five-year term president of the EU council - the 27 member states' decision making body - and an EU foreign minister.

Depending on the personalities of the people who occupy the posts, they have the potential to thoroughly shake-up the way the union currently runs its day-to-day business.

The treaty also sets the stage for a power struggle between the commission president, council president and foreign minister who all to a certain extent represent the bloc towards the outside world.

With Mr Barroso eyeing a second term as commission president from 2009, he could be in the thick of the changes.

He suggests that the new longterm council president, which replaces the current system of rotation between countries every six months, could lead to a "new circuit" being created outside the Commission and the Parliament.

"The danger exists that the governments will handle problems among themselves, without taking into account the European institutions," said the Portuguese politician.

"Some member states do not accept that there is an European interest, which is different from a compromise between member states. I constantly explain to the British that the common market, in which they are the champions, is impossible without strong European institutions, such as the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court [of Justice]."

At the moment, the commission's main duty is as guardian of the EU treaty. It keeps an eye on member states to see if they are upholding law, referring to the court if it suspects they are in breach of it.

Its other main duty is to propose EU law, the sole institution that may do so. More generally it acts as broker between countries and should represent a European view point.

Barroso considered resigning as commission chief

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has admitted he considered resigning from the top Brussels job in the past. But now he is happy to invite speculation about filling the post for a second time.

Exclusive

Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, is currently drawing a pension from a European Parliament fund that is some €400m in debt and may require a taxpayer bailout at a time of rising inflation and high energy costs.

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. Sweden's ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, laid out some of its priorities.

French official accused of conflict over EU fish lobby job

A senior French official is being accused of conflicts of interest for spearheading a leading role in Europeche, a fishing-industry lobby group based in Brussels. The hire comes as the EU Commission threatens a lawsuit against France over fishing.

Opinion

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU

The European Commission has asked the member states' leaders assembling in Brussels next week for the customary end-of-year European Council to approve EU candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Doing so would be a mistake.

Exclusive

Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, is currently drawing a pension from a European Parliament fund that is some €400m in debt and may require a taxpayer bailout at a time of rising inflation and high energy costs.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission silent on Greek spyware sale to Madagascar
  2. A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail
  3. EU lets Croatia into Schengen, keeps Bulgaria and Romania out
  4. Energy crisis costs thousands of EU jobs, but industrial output stable
  5. Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO
  6. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  7. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  8. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us