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The commissioners will leave, one by one… A reorganization in sight?

(B2)It started with a rumor, a little inaccurate but not totally inaccurate... Like all rumors. Several commissioners decided to leave before the end of their mandate, preferring to find another position. Apparently José-Manuel Barroso is no longer very attractive to the point that his commissioners are running away, some to return to the country, some to go to Strasbourg.

The first starter should be the Budget Commissioner, the Lithuanian Dalia Grybauskaite, recalled to the country due to the economic crisis and the presidential election. Lithuania needs a symbolic figure at the head of its state. And the valiant Dalia is very popular in the country. We had to pray to her, a little, a little more (she preferred to stay in Brussels), but not too much, for her to decide to take the plunge. “I can and I want to use my know-how, my knowledge and my abilities to (…) create another Lithuania, another civil society” she declared during her declaration of candidacy. It must be said that the polls are enough to make more than one Western politician pale! The last one credits her with 60% of the votes, the next barely arriving above 5%. The presidential chair therefore seems assured to him. The election is scheduled for May 17. So by April (campaign time), no more budget commissioner. And a.

Then the Commissioner for Education, the Slovak Jan Figel, after being asked a little (not much really because being in the opposition, he was condemned to return to the country anyway), decided to compete to take the head of his party, the KDH (Christian Democrat ). Of course he has repeatedly denied what he considers to be a rumor. But it comes back not only tenacious but coming from serious supporters, including the current president of the party. He is also quite popular in his country (which goes to show that Brussels is excellent for morale). This should make things easier (even if the Slovak political “scene” is sometimes quite sporty). However, it seems difficult to be leader of the opposition of a country and at the same time a commissioner, if only for questions of timetable. But for questions of political rigor. We may wonder what the value of the oath of independence passed before the Court of Justice would be if the person concerned remained a commissioner. And two.

There is also the Commissioner for the Information Society, the Luxembourger Viviane Reding, who is head of the list of his party (Christian Democrat) in the European elections. She is therefore sure to be elected. But the person concerned did not specify that she will sit in the European Parliament – ​​apparently violating an unwritten pact between Luxembourg parties requiring that whoever runs for office should have a seat. It’s true that morality and politics are often a couple living in separate beds. But all the same, this seems to me to be a very bad example for the European Commission. At a minimum, the commissioner will have to take leave during the campaign. Then, nothing says that another Luxembourger would not be considered at the head of the Commission (the arrival of Jean-Claude Juncker? I don't really believe it. But Europe is such a Monopoly that we must be keep nothing). And three.

Finally, there is the Commissioner for Regional Policy, the Polish Danuta Hubner, who has just made a resounding right U-turn. Appointed by the ex-communist government (now social democratic), close to the former communist president, Kwasniewski, since she was his head of the chancellery, she is running under the colors of the Civic Platform, the party of Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Quite a slip. The person concerned defends herself by saying that she is above all a technician “whose concern above all is the interest of her country and its European commitment”. What is true. All the same… (When will Dominique de Villepin head the socialist list in Paris!). Danuta should sit in the European Parliament, because the seat of European commissioner has gone to another Pole. And of four.

We must add to this list, the Belgian liberal commissioner Louis Michel (who is not renewable within the Commission, the Belgian position being normally promised in the next commission to a Flemish liberal).

To be continued…


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).