Monday

13th Jul 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

"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."

Sarkozy in historic address to French parliament

French president Nicolas Sarkozy will on Monday make a historic speech before a joint session of the French parliament gathered at the Palace of Versailles to lay out his domestic and international reform agenda.

Rule-of-law row complicates budget talks

Disagreements are running deep between EU leaders over the overall size of the budget and recovery package, the criteria and mode of distribution and the conditions, with rule of law "another battle ground opening up".

News in Brief

  1. Citizens' perception of judicial independence drops
  2. Irish finance minister voted in as eurogroup president
  3. Italy's League party opens office near old communist HQ
  4. 'Significant divergences' remain in Brexit talks
  5. Germany identifies 32,000 right-wing extremists
  6. WHO to hold probe of global Covid-19 response
  7. China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' on Hong Kong
  8. EU to let Croatia, Bulgaria take first step to join euro

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK
  2. Let's have positive discrimination for EU stagiaires
  3. We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises
  4. Romania's virus surge prompts queues and new worries
  5. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  6. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  7. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds
  8. MEPs give green light to road transport sector reform

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us