Tuesday

19th Mar 2019

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.

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Opinion

My plan for defending rule of law in EU

EPP leader and prospective next EU Commission president Manfred Weber spells out his plan for dealing with recalcitrant EU member states - ahead of Wednesday's EPP meeting on the vexed issue of Hungary's Viktor Orban and Fidesz.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Opinion

It is high time to exclude Fidesz from the EPP

"We have made our choice: we choose democracy and rule of law," write the leaders of the National Coalition Party in Finland and the Moderate Party in Sweden.

Agenda

Brexit delay and Orban decision This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss whether to allow London to delay its exit from the bloc, as some are worried it would mean more of the same. Meantime, the European People's Party braces itself for a showdown with Hungary's Orban.

News in Brief

  1. Violent 'yellow vest' protesters ban in Paris
  2. Russia celebrates fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation
  3. Blow for May as third vote on Brexit deal ruled out
  4. Three killed in possible 'terror' gun attack in Utrecht
  5. Third Brexit vote this week only if DUP will support it
  6. Germany's two largest banks confirm merger talks
  7. Serbian pro-democracy protests reach 15th week
  8. 'Yellow Vest' riots leave Paris shops vandalised

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  3. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  6. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  11. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  12. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us