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Forecast for new EU executive: cloudy - Wurtz

brussels bureau

Forecast for new EU executive: cloudy - Wurtz


The Barroso Commission’s trouble chapter one is closed. The European Union justice and interior ministers have added their seal to Parliament’s broad approval of the bloc’s new Commission. But then, just as you thought it was safe to get back to business as usual: Trouble chapter two! Starts on Monday. The Commission’s new president, Jose Manuel Barroso, has struggled to win approval for the new executive. Parliamentary opposition to some of the candidates nominated by the EU governments sent him back to the drawing board. Two people were switched, one portfolio was changed. It was enough to pacify most of the MEPs. Many, however, are still angry. Reason number one: Neelie Kroes. The Dutch commissioner, assigned the competition brief, had a hard ride all through the screening process, raising concern over conflict of interest potential. She and Barroso promised there would be no such conflicts, and drew up a code of conduct; she sold all shares… And yet, the leader of United European Left group who voted against the Commission, Francis Wurtz, says:

“She was on twenty or so boards, she is immersed in the business sector, its a conflict of interest machine!” When the new college gets down to work on Monday, three weeks behind schedule, according to a senior spokesman in Brussels, “two or three” of the cases in the competition department will be given to someone else to handle. The five-year mandate begins.
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