28th Oct 2016

Outgoing EU commissioners plan 'legacy' booklet

  • Barroso: 'We have a great story to tell' (Photo:

A booklet describing the good works of EU commissioners is to be launched before the European elections in May, according to a letter leaked to this website.

“Wherever possible, we should try to use pictures instead of text to convey our messages,” writes European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, in a letter sent on Thursday (6 February) to his team of commissioners.

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The second Barroso commission, which started in 2010 and ends later this autumn, wants to be remembered for its achievements in helping the EU emerge stronger from the crisis and for helping EU citizens.

“We have a great story to tell and we should put our unique contribution to record,” says Barroso.

The promotional material will appear in future historical volumes about the European Commission and on the commissioners’ respective websites “in a way which also conveys the collegial nature of these achievements.”

"All the contributions [can be put] together in a booklet that will be made widely available," he writes.

“Any idea of how to use this product further will, of course, be most welcome."

The letter, which sets out preliminary agenda items for the college discussion on 19 February, asks each commissioner to draft an “own record of achievement” document no longer than five pages in length complete with a photo.

“You are best placed to do this directly but [vice-president] Viviane [Reding] and DG COMM [the commission’s PR department] will also be happy to help and advise, in particular on presentation and production,” writes Barroso.

The commissioners are asked to use “accessible language” to describe their three best achievements.

They are also asked to make themselves available for interviews which can be used as contributions to a future European Commission historical volume. A book covering the period from 1973 to 1985 is already prepared for publication in May.

“The historians have benefitted greatly from the personal memoirs and recollections of our predecessors. I hope all of you will be willing to participate,” Barroso writes.

He notes that a lot still needs to be accomplished in the coming months, but that “it is never too early to start thinking about how to tell our story of this difficult and fascinating period of European integration.”

Other agenda items set for 19 February discussion include EU economic governance, the 2014-2020 budget, trade negotiations with the US and Japan, climate and energy policy, rule of law initiatives, Ukraine, and Syria.

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