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Ulrike Guerot, ECFR: EU is not trying to wrong Romania, but the commissioner's portfolio also depends on the performance in European policies

Marţi, 1 septembrie 2009, 21:18 English | Regional Europe

Ulrike Guerot
Foto: ECFR
The constitution of the new College of Commissioners depends on the elections in Germany and on the Irish referendum. Therefore, the team will be known in mid-October at the soonest, European ECFR think tank researcher Ulrike Guerot says. The specialty of the one proposed for the role of commissioner counts more than the political affiliation. Romania is leading more difficult negotiations due to the lack in European policies performance.

Ulrike Guerot believes that there is still a chance for Jose Manuel Barroso to miss the European commission nomination because there are people in the European Parliament who think Barroso should not be named EC president. According to her, the Parliament might have bigger decision prerogatives when it comes to the Commission's constitution if the Lisbon Treaty is modified. Barroso is told to have neglected the Parliament's main political groups when it came for his second mandate.

  • According to the researcher, there have been other names circulating. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the Green leader, mentioned Guy Verhofstadt when he launched his anti-Barroso campaign. Ulrike Guerot believes he has good chances: "The British see him more pro-European than federalist, but the secret of this game is to not make certain names public too soon, to burn them. I've learnt in the past years that the names making public discussions too early are the ones which will not win. Five years ago, Barroso was announced in the last moment", she added, believing the name of the new EC president will be learnt in the last moment.
  • Ulrike Guerot consider it wise for the EC president to belong to the dominant movement of the Parliament, therefore she suggests a moderate conservative or a moderate liberal. But with Germany holding elections on September 27, it is less likely that this country will nominate anyone before the elections. It is the new German government who will name their representative in the European Commission.
  • The ECFR researcher believes that the Commission's members will be listed after the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which is schedule to happen after the elections in Germany, meaning around mid-October at the earliest. "As it is widely known, the Treaty changes the Commission and we need to know if, for example, the High Representative will hold the Commission's vice-president role as well, we need to know if this will be an additional role in the Commission, we need to see if we have to prepare a place for Croatia as well. Therefore, the Commission's compositions depends greatly on whether the Treaty is ratified or not", Ulrike Guerot stated.
  • The Lisbon Treaty says there will be a reduction in mandates by 2014. Ulrike Guerot believes the new trend is a greater portfolio concentration. She does not exclude having to drop certain portfolios. Romania expressed its preference and eagerness for the Agriculture portfolio, but Ulrike Guerot says that Romania has the same chances to get like any other state. On the other hand, Romania is still a new EU member, still monitored and a portfolio implies a great trust.
  • The researcher believes that the European system rewards the good performers when it comes to Commission portfolios as well. She believes that Romania has showed improvements, but there are many aspects to better. "Romania is a big country, it has great importance for certain EU policies, therefore it should not be a problem to aim for an important portfolio", Guerot thinks.
  • "Many countries desire agriculture or energy and the six big members have a say in this. And there is also the issue of the proposed person's competence. If you take a look at the last Commission, in comparison to the former ones, one can notice that increasing importance is given to the specialty or qualification of the people sent by the member states. So, it's up to Romania who they send to Brussels", the researcher added.
  • Romania's monitoring can be lifted in 2010 at the soonest and the country expects an EC report regarding the use of European funds. According to Ulrike Guerot, Romania's position is difficult, but the country does not have a different treatment. "Nobody wants to disadvantage Romania, but Romania showed it is not totally in conformity with European policies and only the country can straighten up things." The current situation makes Romania's position more difficult from a political point of view Ulrike Guerot says, believing it is a matter of credibility.
  • Regarding the role of the commissioner, the researcher believes the person's qualification and expertise is the best recommendation. Having previous contact with Brussels may be an advantage. Romania will need to have two-three proposals in mind.
  • Germany, France and Great Britain are the most powerful members, main runners for the biggest portfolios, like inner market, fusions and acquisitions etc. "If you look at how the things are going, the markets, for example, are held by Holland, a small country, but MRS. Kroess is a competent person. There you have one of the biggest portfolios not held by one of the Great Three", Ulrike Guerot underlines. She goes on to show that the agriculture portfolio is managed by Denmark, despite France having wanted it badly. This, Guerot claims, suggests a natural sense of justice. "EU is not that stupid as to give everything that is important to the big countries. There has to be a balance, everyone must get something", she says.

"If Romania makes statements when it shouldn't, if this issue is be included in the electoral debate, than this is a mistake", Ulrike Guerot concluded.

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