24th Oct 2016

Sarkozy calls for 'strong' EU president

  • Mr Sarkozy is expected to present more detailed EU reform ideas on Monday (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

European institutions, especially the European Commission, should be given more power, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday (19 June), in a foretaste of his upcoming EU reform proposals.

"I am really for a strong European Commission, a strong Council [the institution representing EU member states] and a strong European Parliament," Mr Sarkozy said at a press conference following a two-day meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"For the parliament, it's done. For the council, I hope that with the Lisbon [treaty] it will be done. I really think we can have a win-win system for the three big institutions."

According to the president, the European Commission at the moment is too weak, mainly due to its size – it has 27 commissioners, one from each member state and a large number of "smaller portfolios."

The commission president "does not have enough authority over his commissioners," Mr Sarkozy said, stressing he was not referring to Mr Barroso personally, but rather to the presidential office in the organisation.

He said all three institutions should be equally strong in order to avoid "imbalance."

"If there is one that is stronger than the other, this introduces imbalance into the system," the French leader explained.

The remarks foreshadow Mr Sarkozy's speech on Monday, when he is to address both chambers of the French parliament, outlining his vision for reforms in the EU in the aftermath of the European elections.

The president did not confirm French press reports that he supports former Spanish socialist prime minister Felipe Gonzalez to become the first EU president if the Lisbon treaty enters into force. The treaty creates the new position and may come into life after a second Irish referendum in autumn.

Mr Sarkozy declined to put forward any names, but said the person in the new job should be "strong and ambitious [for Europe]."

The candidate's nationality and political affiliation would also play a part. "Whether he is from a small or a big member state, his experience and his European engagement," will count, the French leader indicated.

"One political family cannot have all the posts," he said.

Mr Sarkozy expressed support for Polish ex-premier Jerzy Buzek to become the new European Parliament president. Mr Buzek is competing for the post with Italy's Mario Mauro, but is believed to have greater support.

"I think he would be an excellent candidate," the French president said. "[It would] send a very positive signal to our friends from eastern Europe."

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity