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New European Commission starts work but row drags on

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New European Commission starts work but row drags on

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After weeks of delays caused by opposition to some controversial appointments, the new European Commission will today finally get down to work. Jose Manuel Barroso, the man in charge of the new line-up, still has a cloud that will not disappear: a row about an undisclosed embezzlement conviction against one of his team.

Eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage made the revelations about a French commissioner last Thursday, just when Barroso thought he had finally achieved a problem-free team. Officials, however, say Jacques Barrot was never banned from holding public office, and an amnesty cleared his criminal record. While Barroso says he has full confidence in the French commissioner, the Liberal group in the European Parliament wants him to step aside until the row is resolved.