The New EU Commission: Germany A Relative Winner

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

On Thursday the new European Union Commission President José Manuel Barroso unveiled his scheme for dividing Commission portfolios among the commissioners named by the other 24 EU member-states (other than his own Portugal, that is). Not only did he do this a full two weeks before the deadline he himself had promised for presenting his portfolio distribution, by most accounts he did a rather good job with his decisions of whom to put where. As the Financial Times Deutschland put it, he rather skillfully reconciled the different goals of “fulfilling a wish for everyone, yet remaining the chief at the center, all while forming a competent team.”

German Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder (currently visiting Romania, among other reasons to visit for the first time the grave of his father, killed there in the Second World War), for one, is happy with what Barroso has come up with. This is despite the new Commission President’s evident shunting aside of pressures by the Union’s bigger countries to name a “supercommissioner” in charge of industry and economic affairs, i.e. one with authority over other commissioners. The Germans particularly thought that that would be appropriate for their own commissioner, Günter Verheugen, but it didn’t happen – or did it? This question constitutes the core of most German press coverage of the new Commission roster. (more…)

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