On the sidelines of the summit, the new European Commission president managed to put together a new executive team with alterations designed to win broad political backing in the European Parliament.
Jose Manuel Barroso presented his new line-up on Thursday. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was finally named to replace Rocco Buttiglione, earlier rejected by a parliament committee over macho conservative views he expressed. Set to take up the justice and security post, Frattini is now preparing for confirmation hearings, which start ten days from now: “I am going to read attentively what Buttiglione said, and certainly what questions he was asked by the members of the parliament. It will be the same with the European Parliament for me as it is with the Italian parliament; I’ve always had a relationship of absolute respect. So, I’m going to the European Parliament to say what I think, but also to listen.” Switching Hungarian Laszlo Kovacs to taxation, putting Latvia’s new nominee Andris Piebalgs into energy, and keeping Dutchwoman Neelie Kroes in the competition portfolio, Barroso is seeking clear majority support for the new college in the parliamentary investiture vote, delayed until November 18, with veteran commission chief Romano Prodi holding the fort till then.