Ireland, Barroso and 'one commissioner per country': EU democracy pays the price

Article published on Dec. 15, 2008
Article published on Dec. 15, 2008
Ireland's stubborness is paying off as they succeed in their European goals. On 11 December the conservative president of the European commission ceded to Irish demands of 'one commissioner per country'. The Lisbon treaty originally plans to slim the executive body down. Latest news from Brussels

‘If one state does not have a European commissioner, it could reduce that country’s depth of identification with the EU,’ the former Portuguese prime minister now harps, after a European council summit on 11 December. What Jose Manuel Barroso does not say is that the commission he presides over is like an elephant with 27 dragging feet representing every country. If the situation continues, European democracy will remain paralysed in attaining a majority in the European parliament. Nor would it have elections putting the role of the commission chief and commissioners at stake. Without this, citizens would never be able to identify with European democracy. So what’s worse – can you imagine a government with thirty ministers?