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LQD: The new European Commission's team

by Melanchthon Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 04:29:06 AM EST

EUROPA - Press Releases - President Barroso unveils his new team

President Barroso unveils his new team

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, today announced the portfolios responsibilities for the next Commission...
...
The new College will have 7 Vice-Presidents, including Vice-President Baroness Catherine Ashton who will, at the same time, be the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December next. Three of the Vice-Presidents will be women. The new College will have 27 members, including President Barroso, one from each Member State. It includes 9 women. The members of the College come from different political families, notably the European People's Party (EPP), the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S & D), and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). 14 members, including the President, were already members of the outgoing College.

President Barroso has given a new look to the College of his second mandate. He has announced a number of new portfolios: Climate Action; Home Affairs; Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. He has reconfigured a number of other portfolios: Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth; Health and Consumer Policy; Industry and Entrepreneurship; Research and Innovation; International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. There will be a new emphasis on inclusion in the Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion portfolio, and a renewed focus with the Digital Agenda portfolio.

Front-paged by afew


 

Responsibilities of the Commissioners-designate
  • Joaquín ALMUNIA: Competition. Vice-President of the Commission.

  • László ANDOR: Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

  • Baroness Catherine ASHTON: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice-President of the Commission.

  • Michel BARNIER: Internal Market and Services.

  • Dacian CIOLOS: Agriculture and Rural Development.

  • John DALLI: Health and Consumer Policy.

  • Maria DAMANAKI: Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

  • Karel DE GUCHT: Trade.

  • Štefan FÜLE: Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.

  • Johannes HAHN: Regional Policy.

  • Connie HEDEGAARD: Climate Action.

  • Maire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN: Research and Innovation.

  • Rumiana JELEVA: International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. *

  • Siim KALLAS: Transport. Vice-President of the Commission.

  • Neelie KROES: Digital Agenda. Vice-President of the Commission.

  • Janusz LEWANDOWSKI: Budget and Financial Programming.

  • Cecilia MALMSTRÖM: Home Affairs.

  • Günter OETTINGER: Energy.

  • Andris PIEBALGS: Development.

  • Janez POTOČNIK: Environment.

  • Viviane REDING: Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Vice-President of the Commission.

  • Olli REHN: Economic and Monetary Affairs.

  • Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ: Vice-President of the Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration.

  • Algirdas ŠEMETA: Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud.

  • Antonio TAJANI: Industry and Entrepreneurship. Vice-President of the Commission.

  • Androulla VASSILIOU: Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

For nice pictures of the Commission members, see The members of the Barroso Commission designate (2009-2014)

Display:
So, Barnier will be in charge of financial services after all. According to some sources, Barroso received a long phone call from Sarkozy...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 12:04:12 PM EST
Another notable part is that the portfolio wasn't weakened one bit, which the press rumours the Brits to be asking for.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 12:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but to calm the Brits, Barnier will have a British Director General, Jonahan Faull, who was until today Director General for Justice, Freedom and Security.

According to Jean Quatremer, Barnier has been taking courses on finance with the French financial markets authority for several months...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:23:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the British Director General will be for Internal Market, not for Financial Services.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 03:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is "Vice President" anything other than an honorary title?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 12:13:21 PM EST
Well, mainly so, but:

President Barroso unveils his new team

Baroness Ashton will be the 1 st Vice-President. However, having regard to her specific functions, notably in the Council, the replacement of the President in his absence will be assured by the other Vice-Presidents, in the order of precedence defined by the President. The order of precedence is: Viviane Reding, Joaquín Almunia, Siim Kallas, Neelie Kroes, Antonio Tajani, Maro š Š ef č ovi č .


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 12:19:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
VPs get more money. Ashton is now 1st VP, as Melanchton quotes, but is so only in name. In reality it's Reding, who now also has control of DG Communication.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 12:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Piebalgs leaves Energy, Oettinger moves in.

Better, worse, neutral?

(I suppose Oettinger gets it because of Freiburg?)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:03:17 PM EST
Worse. Oettinger is a dinosaur on renewables. He consistently blocked wind via zoning laws, and was an open friend of the energy giants in their coal and nuclear ambitions. (And Freiburg is more a success of the local Greens.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:48:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The press release also details exactly how the administration of the Commission will change. Some of these changes are good. My main concern is with DG Environment, which used to be a powerful DG. Now, less so:
Changes for DG ENV:

  • The Climate Directorate ENV C moves from DG ENV to the new DG for Climate Action (except the Clean Air Unit C.3);

  • The Civil Protection Units ENV A.3. and ENV A.4 move from DG ENV to DG Humanitarian Aid (ECHO);

  • The Biotechnology, Pesticides and Health Unit ENV D.4 moves from DG ENV to DG Health and Consumers (SANCO).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:11:38 PM EST
Joaquín ALMUNIA: Competition. Vice-President of the Commission.

Will he be as 'tough' as Kroes? (I'm asking both with regards to private companies playing dirty, and national governments trying to enact an industrial or environmental policy.)

It speaks volumes that Almunia's appointment was the leading news on WSJ when I checked a hour ago.

László ANDOR: Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

Succeeding Vladimír Špidla, hopefully a good choice.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:54:29 PM EST
Dacian Ciolos is a bit of a dark horse. Romanian but very French-trained. A specialist in rural development, worked on organic farms... But is a member of the very British and Eurosceptic Bruges Group...

Dacian Cioloş - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was born in Zalău and after graduating from the agro-industrial high school in Şimleu Silvaniei in 1987, attended the Horticulture faculty of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca from 1989 to 1994, graduating as a horticultural engineer. He also holds degrees in the economy of agricultural development from the École nationale supérieure agronomique de Rennes and from the University of Montpellier 1, where he earned a master's in 1997 and a doctorate in 2006. He has belonged to the Bruges Group since 2000, and he is married.[1] Cioloş is a political independent.[2][3]

From 1991 to 1996, Cioloş completed thirteen months' worth of internships on organic farms in the French region of Brittany. In the summer of 1995, he prepared a rural development project between Savoie and Argeş County, while working at the Aveyron agricultural chamber of commerce in Rodez during 1997, studying agricultural and rural development in the northern part of that department. In 1997 and 1999, he interned as an agro-economist at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development in Brussels, helping prepare the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD). In 1998-1999, he directed a local rural development programme in Argeş County, again cooperating with Savoie. From 1999 to 2001, he worked at two agricultural development agencies in France, coordinating joint programmes with Romania in that field. From 2002 to 2003, as part of the European Commission's delegation to Romania, he helped manage SAPARD's implementation in his native country. From January 2005 to May 2007, he was an adviser to Romania's Agriculture Minister, and a representative in the European Council's Special Committee on Agriculture. From May to October 2007, he was undersecretary of state for European affairs at the ministry.[1] Following the resignation of Decebal Traian Remeş due to a corruption scandal,[4] he was appointed Agriculture Minister in October 2007, serving until the following December, when Tăriceanu's National Liberal Party-led government left office after a parliamentary election.[5] Early in 2009, he returned to work at the Agriculture and Rural Development DG.[6]

In October 2009, the Emil Boc government, which hopes to secure the Agriculture portfolio in the second Barroso Commission, nominated Cioloş as Romania's EU Commissioner.[7] The proposal was criticised by the opposition Liberals and Social Democrats, who saw it as a last-ditch maneuver by a government on the brink of collapse, as well as by the Party of European Socialists, who believe the position ought to go to a Social Democrat.[3] Boc's cabinet did indeed resign the day after nominating Cioloş, when it lost a motion of no confidence.[8] At the end of November, Barroso nominated Cioloş to the Agriculture position, observing that his was "the most competent name" of those submitted for consideration, and lauding his "modern vision" of agriculture and rural development.[9]

Oh, the northern part of the Aveyron is José Bové's parish.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 04:11:47 PM EST
He was chosen by Romania's government and President with the explicit aim to get the agricultural portfolio.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 06:05:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To defend transfers via the CAP towards Romania, or to destroy the CAP as the British Eurosceptic Tory-party-inspired Bruges Group would wish?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 02:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first, at least by the intention of the government and the President. This Bruges Group connection is really strange, I'll try to find something on it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see nanne was faster...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I searched for the name on the Bruges Group site and got no response.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:20:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone Wikipedia-savvy correct the mistake on Dacian Ciolos' page? It links to the Wikipedia page on the wrong Bruges Group.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:33:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have the link to the wikipedia page for the right Bruges group?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:39:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess there is no Wikipedia page for the Groupe de Bruges...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently not, not even on the FR Wikipédia.

At least the Ciolos page shouldn't link to the Eurosceptic Bruges Group.

The agricultural Bruges Group About page is here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 05:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll create the pages. That will allow me to create a disambiguation page for Bruges Group lowering the visibility of the Eurosceptic one. Har, har, har (and a bottle of rum)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 05:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupe_de_Bruges now created...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 07:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good work! I made a minor edit (the Charles-Leopold Mayer Foundation is Swiss).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 07:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What sources need referring to -- apart from pages in the groupedebruges site?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 07:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the edit history and the discussion page I created a one-line stub and within 3 minutes the page received a "request for speedy deletion" and an "unreferenced" notice. Wikipedia has become a regimented pain in the arse.

I had to waste a few minutes explaining why the article needed to exist and the deletion notice was promptly removed by another Wikipedia editor.

I will not bother removing the "unsourced" notice.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 08:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I did see that. It seemed to me you did cite refs, and wondered what others could be needed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 09:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears the Bruges Group is much better than the Groupe de Bruges at getting mentioned in the media...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 09:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be interesting to see what the Economist will say if they ever notice the connections. My guess is heads will explode.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 10:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I predict we will hear anti-Ciolos noise as soon as they find out. (At the very least, the French connection... But then the ideas of Pisani and the Groupe de Bruges, oh dear...)

[File under heading: you read it first on ET].

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 12:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's already happened:

Dacian Cioloş - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur and British newspaper The Independent both criticised the nomination due to the funds mismanagement issue, with French daily Ouest-France alleging that the cause of British indignation was the perception that Cioloş would be akin to a second French EU Commissioner, given his close ties to that country.[18]


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 04:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a different Bruges Group (as I just found out). In fact, Cioloş is the French candidate as much as he's the Romanian. Here's what the Bruges Group says on agriculture:
The second observation concerns the increasing importance of the international dimension in our reflections upon the policy issues surrounding agriculture. We have already raised the importance of this by underlining the necessity to guarantee food security, particularly for developing countries, and by highlighting the dangers inherent in an aggressive EU export policy. But since the events of Seattle, it has become abundantly clear that the rise of liberalism is going to provoke much wider mobilization which, in turn, would once more shine the spotlight upon the food question - global governance, the role of international institutions and, beyond this, a sense of the future and of the ability of people to influence the course of history. What future is there in a process of globalization orchestrated by the United States, in which the collective interest adds up to the sum of certain private interests? This question is of concern to all continents, including our own. Then we witnessed the tragic events of September 11 2001. We should not overestimate the scope of the grand resolutions made in this context. But we should take stock of the risk of instability which characterizes the new century. We must reassert the need for global co-ordination of economic policy, for the democratization of negotiation processes, and for the respect of collective interests. We explain below that the emergence of a multipolar world is a matter of urgency. We should encourage the development of regional groupings seen as policy integration areas within which exchanges are stimulated and regulated. Like the European Union, these groupings made up of countries of similar status will participate in the construction of stabilized markets. As for international trade negotiations, they must be organized around one priority: the reduction of inequality between countries, between territories, and between individuals. The fight against poverty rests upon the ability of the countries of the South to preserve markets for their farmers. The European Union must guarantee them this right which it has claimed for itself. And that is where agricultural policy comes in again. The growing importance of concerns about the environment, rural development and food security do not excuse us from renewed reflection upon the organization of markets, mechanisms of trade and protection, and the place of farmers in the world.

A quite succint statement of French geopolitics, at least as practiced under Chirac.

Seriously: WTF??

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 05:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously: WTF??
Is this what Barroso got reappointed to do? He denies it
Barroso said that he had distributed jobs according to the talents and interests of the individuals, not according to country.
(European Voice)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well duh. Romania chose someone with the talent and interest for the theme they wanted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll say straight out that I'm quite pleased, a priori, to see someone with this background and apparent interests appointed to Agriculture.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
distributed jobs according to the talents and interests of the individuals, not according to country.

It would be fun if the EP would foil the Oettinger nomination... but why expect it from the same EP that re-elected Barroso.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:47:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it's the Groupe de Bruges d'Edgard Pisani.

Bruges Group

The Bruges Group is composed of about thirty individuals from different European countries. Created in 1995 at the suggestion of Mr. Edgard Pisani, it is independent of any organisation or institution.

I can see a number of differences with standard French agricultural policy there in the excerpt you quote. What's your WTF referring to?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:26:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:30:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To the 'multipolar world as a matter of urgency' and the 'process of globalization orchestrated by the USA' and the encouragement of EU clones. Rather too much geopolitics to hinge agricultural policy on. And rather too French.

The EU should focus on stopping the harm it's doing with its export subsidies before considering agricultural policy as a cog in arranging a new world order.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 07:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read

nanne:

the necessity to guarantee food security, particularly for developing countries, and by highlighting the dangers inherent in an aggressive EU export policy.

As for US-orchestrated globalisation, I'm dead against, but perhaps that's just me.

Seems to me the EU project is part of a multipolar movement?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 08:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me the EU project is part of a multipolar movement?

Exactly. I fundamentally disagree with that view. I see the EU as a step towards global governance. I think the focus on creating regional blocs elsewhere is inappropriate for many parts of the world and potentially dangerous if it would ever work. I think that the EU should lead the way on a more equitable global arrangement and partner with the developing world at large in doing so rather than trying to divvy up the world in trading blocs.

The rest of the recommendations are fair enough, and for the record I'm also happy to have Cioloş. I just thought the bit on multipolarism and encouraging EU clones was weird in a text on agriculture.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 08:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think there's an approach to agricultural development that looks at the local and the regional (regions may be large). Local development should be firstly about food security in rural localities, while development of regional (smaller sense) markets can offer an outlet for part of the crops grown, against cash. A wider region may organize/stabilize exchanges on a comparative advantage basis (area 1 is better for rice, area 2 for maize, etc).

I think this is above all the reference in that text. They do after all say:

nanne:

We must reassert the need for global co-ordination of economic policy, for the democratization of negotiation processes, and for the respect of collective interests.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 09:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens when the 'development of regional groupings' is in practical conflict with the 'need for global coordination of economic policy'? You can want both but as a practical matter the first is an existing element of the EU's trade strategy (through EPAs) which exists as a way of restructuring global trade in the absence of a prospect of coming to a global agreement through the Doha round.

As the EPAs seem less harmful than the Doha round this is not a bad thing on account of getting a global arrangement. Better nothing than Doha. But the accompanying construction of regional trading blocs in the service of the EU market is a questionable matter.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 10:33:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
in the service of the EU market

I agree.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 10:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A multipolar system is a much better description because it allows a gradation of connection between the poles, as opposed to the delineation of territory into impermeable blocs. The latter reminds me of how Africa got carved up by diplomats from Spain, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Portugal on a map that had very little to do with the cultural and tribal realities on the ground.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 08:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at a terrain map, there are obvious geographical choices for territorial boundaries. But when mapmakers use a river as a territorial line, eg, the mappers forget that a river has two banks - that don't divide people, both banks attract the same people.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 09:04:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That can also be read as an argument for better geographic line-drawing. As Migeru is fond of pointing out, you'd want to go with catchment basins. e.g.

Of course it's all rather more complicated and IMO the best thing we can do is not interfere more, since we Europeans have a long history of screwing things up. Which is sometimes remembered!

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 09:35:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I think nanne's criticism of the EU making a multipolar world a geostrategic goal is that it's as if the EU were asking Kissinger's question about other regions. "If the High Representative wants to phone South America, who should she call?"

Should the EU really be doing that?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 09:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's already doing that to itself. Europe is increasingly multipolar as the ancient and modern boundaries become more irrelevant by the year. That's what free movement of goods and people means.

For accounting purposes (who pays and who gets what) those boundaries still exist. But for people (culture) they are far less important.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 09:30:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, as I suggest above, that the text is more about creating large regional food markets in opposition to the Doha Round globalising tendency which would see major powers deriving their food supplies from (in some cases neo-colonial) plantation-type agriculture -- than it is about foreign policy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 10:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To what extent are commissioners there to do the bidding of their Member State on the key issue of their interest? We suspect at least Germany, France and Romania. Who else?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 03:17:16 AM EST
Greece: Shipping is still the country's largest industry (with tourism) and Greece has been notorious in defending the ship-owners against environmental regulation (i.e.) in the EU (a fact under-reported in the shipping-magnate dominated Greek media, I note). Even if this is tempered somewhat (Damanaki's green/environmental credentials would be hurt), still it's very unlikely that a Greek Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, wouldn't go out of her way to help the industry.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 05:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 06:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish comments around Malmström (home affairs) has centered on establishing a common migration policy. As one of the countries granting many asylum (per capita) this has been portrayed as a swedish interest. I do not think she will take particular instructions as there is no particular policy pushed, escept having a common one.

(The swedish asylum process is messed up (and messes people up) in many ways, but that is another story.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 01:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Times Online: Lack of key economic jobs shows how Britain was outmanoeuvred in Brussels

Finally a medical response to the pandemic Anglo disease. One of the most virulent carriers, Brown's Britain, has been been placed in an isolation ward and sent a High Representative bunch of flowers and some sour grapes.

The plan by President Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has been to take control of the EU's economic agenda after what both agreed had been a period of damaging Anglo-Saxon market liberalism.

As Chancellor, Gordon Brown came to Brussels, year in, year out, to resist greater regulation for hedge funds, private equity and the like, to allow the City to flourish. In Charlie McCreevy, the Irishman in charge of the internal market and financial services, he had a willing soulmate. "Light touch" was the buzzword of both Britain and Ireland. The downturn, when it came, was harsh for both countries but it also wounded the rest of Europe. Berlin and Paris plotted to wrest back control.

When, as Prime Minister, Mr Brown went to last week's EU summit to propose Geoff Hoon as Britain's next commissioner, he was hijacked by José Manuel Barroso, the commission chief, and by Europe's Socialist leaders.

They were all in on the deal cooked up in Paris to install the Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy of Belgium as Europe's first president, in exchange for the Socialists picking the High Representative and the plum job controlling EU competition policy. Mr Brown wanted an economic post, but most of the EU would not let London near one. The only option that would work, he was told, would be a British High Representative, preferably female. Lady Ashton was picked. She had not even prepared a speech for the press conference.

Where does Rehn, as a rather powerful Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, fit in to the chess game of European politics? As a returning commissioner, he has apparently proved himself competent to Barroso, and also to the D-G's. He also speaks French, English, Swedish - and is honing his German language skills. And a Masters in political science from Helsinki University and an Oxford PhD (Corporatism and Industrial Competitiveness in Small European States) all support the competence argument. And he played football in his youth.

But the clincher imo is that he represents one of the senior Nordics - an area as far from the leprous Anglo market liberalism as is possible within Europe.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 05:52:57 AM EST
Yle:
Soon after his appointment was announced, Rehn told YLE News in Brussels that he feels a strong sense of responsibility. He sees improving EU employment and strengthening economic growth to be special challenges.

He said that his main task will be to act in cooperation with the EU member states, the European Parliament, and the European Central Bank so that Europe's economic and monetary policy will promote growth that creates jobs, and reform of structures appropriate to the next phase of the economy.

According to Rehn, Europe's economy needs to be changed in a greener, and more innovative direction.

Rehn expects the coming years to be difficult for all member states. The recession has caused all countries to become more indebted through the recession, leading to a need for more cooperation among all member states.

Rehn also puts a priority on environmental questions, and strengthening the EU's international role.

I have nothing to argue about in these comments...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 05:58:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I have somthing to argue ...

Rehn:


... so that Europe's economic and monetary policy will promote growth that creates jobs.

Is growth to create new jobs the solution to our current economic problems? I'm not against growth but it's not the silver bullet. It's fighting the symptoms instead of working on the causes.

According to Rehn, Europe's economy needs to be changed in a greener, and more innovative direction.

At least an area where growth makes sense :-) Because also war is creating economic growth.

Schau in mich, Harno

Make it as simple as possible but not simpler (Albert Einstein)

by harnoes on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 04:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Growth and Jobs" is the slogan for the Lisbon Strategy introduced in 2000. It has been a failure because it was all based on wrong economics (unfortunately, that 'wrong economics' is the standard economic consensus). Now the page on the Lisbon Strategy is all about "driving recovery" and "green jobs" but that's a recent addition.

Nothing will change with Barroso - he was the Portuguese Prime Minister presiding in Lisbon back then...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 03:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So who will have trouble in the EP hearings?

  • I hope Oettinger will.

  • The Research and Innovation portfolio was spared of Mr. Empty Suit Johannes Hahn, but he may not be better suited for Regional Policy either, and what does former justice minister Maire Geoghegan-Quinn have to do with R&D?

  • Janez Potočnik has nothing to do with Environment, either, even if good at European affairs and economics. (But this was the situation with his predecessor already... whom the then EP let pass.)

I am also curious about Berlusconi's current candidate, Tajani. Anything we know about him beyond the rather bland Wikipedia article? De Gondi?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 01:45:51 PM EST
DoDo:

So who will have trouble in the EP hearings?
    * I hope Oettinger will.

Ok, so Oettinger doesn't have an impressive track record as Ministerpräsident (I'm from his state). Also he isn't first choice for the european position.
OTOH, he represents the current German conservative government. And they could have sent worse choices I think (Koch, Jung, ...)

Schau in mich, Harno

Make it as simple as possible but not simpler (Albert Einstein)

by harnoes on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 04:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He also lacks expertise on energy, and has a bad track record.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 05:03:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Known ways to get in trouble in the EP:

  • make statements praising inequality between men and women, hetero and homosexuals when being proposed to head justice [Buttiglione]
  • be at the receiving end of an investigation for grave charges of corruption [Ūdre, Marín, Cresson]

But if you're German you get to promote your mistress to director of your cabinet without problems [Verheugen].

In the view of the realities, I doubt anyone will be scuppered unless something more damaging is dug up. Perhaps enough noise could be drummed up with regard to Oettinger's apologia for a nazi, but given the time passed and the way the EPP has held for Berlusconi I'd doubt it. I worry more about the knives coming out in the press for some of the more left-ish nominations.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 at 08:45:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could the Irish Commissioner get in trouble for abuse of power? See Frank Schnittger's Corrupting Justice: Ireland's EU Commissioner (November 17th, 2009)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 03:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She's in Research and Innovation, and I think Cowen still has a few favours left to call in. So I'd doubt it, certainly given that what she was doing was 'established practice' at the time. But it's worth bringing the question up.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 11:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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