Tuesday

11th Dec 2018

Commissioners to plan next EU projects

  • Mr Barroso - will he be sitcking around Brussels until 2013? (Photo: europa.eu)

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso is gathering his team of commissioners this Thursday for a chat on the institution's plans for the remainder of its term, with insiders saying Mr Barroso already has his eyes fixed on a second innings as president.

In a Chateau south west of Brussels, the 27 commissioners are to map out what big policy areas still need to be tackled and what the general approach will be until the end of its mandate in just under two years time.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But according to officials, Mr Barroso is already considering what his legacy will be in order to give himself a foot up before for the five-year commission presidency comes up again in 2009.

"The main goal [of the seminar] is to reflect on what the commission should focus on until the end of its term. Commissioners will be reminded that there's limited time for what the current college can achieve. So the commission should think more about what it will present as its key results in the end, and refrain at this point from opening too controversial issues or issues which can't be completed by the current [European Parliament]" said a high-ranking commission official.

"There's a feeling in the commission that such a debate will also serve Mr Barroso in his attempt to shift from one commission to the next - as it is quite a well-known thing that he will try to keep the job," he added.

Even if it battens down the hatches now and does not come up with any major new initiatives, the commission will still have its work cut out for it, just dealing with the open dossiers.

Among the most controversial are new proposals for breaking up the energy market in the EU - plans are to be unveiled next week - and the range of legislation needed to implement the Union's ambitious environment goals, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

It also has to manage a debate on reforming the EU's budget, a thorny topic that has member states divided along the trenchant line of more or less money for EU farmers, as well as to deal with the growing problem of immigrants trying to enter the EU.

Commission spokesperson Johannes Laitenberger says that the commissioners will "look at the work in the months to come" including on the environment, energy, immigration, social policy and the internal market review.

The EU's new reform treaty will "certainly" be discussed as it provides a "context" for all future commission actions, he added.

The treaty is meant to be finalised at the end of this year and its wider powers for the EU is set to give a boost to many of the fields that the commission is looking at, including justice and home affairs.

Another official notes that Mr Barroso will need to maintain a "fine balance" especially among the big member states, if he wants to retain the presidency.

The commission president is nominated by national governments in a behind-closed-doors tussle that usually leaves several rejected candidates in its wake.

So far Mr Barroso has steered a liberal economic course at the helm of the EU executive, backed up by several commissioners who share his economic point of view, including those in charge of the internal market, trade and competition.

But he is also pragmatic about his support base. Late last year, following pressure from France, he quashed a move by internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy to overhaul EU artists' levies after pressure from the then French prime minister, Dominique de Villepin.

EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water

The European Commission is struggling to respond to questions on how it can include the disputed territory of the Western Sahara into its aviation agreement with Morocco - following a recent order from the General Court of the European Union.

Anti-semitism 'disturbingly normalised' in Europe

Almost 40 percent of European Jews contemplate leaving their home country because they no longer feel safe, and almost 85 percent say their number one concern in Europe is anti-semitism and racism, according to a new EU survey.

Stakeholder

Help consumers take cruelty away from EU's Xmas buffet

Will commissioners Phil Hogan and Vytenis Andriukaitis help consumers take cruelty away from the EU's Christmas buffet? Some 79 MEPs have asked the EU Commission to delete the requirement of minimum liver weights for foie gras

EU court adds to knife-edge Brexit drama

EU judges have granted the UK the right to unilaterally stop Brexit - amid question marks on whether Tuesday's crunch vote in London will take place.

News in Brief

  1. Lead MEP on Morocco resigns position on trade file
  2. EU gives green light to new human rights sanctions
  3. May pulls vote, seeks to renegotiate Brexit 'backstop'
  4. Report: May cancels Tuesday's Brexit vote in parliament
  5. Belgium left with minority government after UN migration pact row
  6. EU court: UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50
  7. UK remains largest arms producer in western Europe
  8. Macron to address French nation in bid to calm tension

EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water

The European Commission is struggling to respond to questions on how it can include the disputed territory of the Western Sahara into its aviation agreement with Morocco - following a recent order from the General Court of the European Union.

Opinion

EU foot-dragging puts rule of law at risk in Hungary, Poland

The European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has yet to be heard on the forced eviction of the Central European University from Budapest to Vienna. Just months before crucial European parliament elections, EU leaders should not shy away from this debate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water
  2. Anti-semitism 'disturbingly normalised' in Europe
  3. Help consumers take cruelty away from EU's Xmas buffet
  4. EU court adds to knife-edge Brexit drama
  5. France and Germany back Dutch on human rights sanctions
  6. COP24: vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy
  7. EU foot-dragging puts rule of law at risk in Hungary, Poland
  8. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us