Three weeks late, the new European Commission sat for its first Wednesday meeting, and President Jose Manuel Barroso reported some of its agenda to the media in Brussels.
Europe’s reporters were up in arms about tough security and access producing gridlock in the corridors and carparks of power, another problem to add to Mr Barroso’s baptism by fire; at the press conference he was obliged to return to the Barrot affair: “Mr Barrot has been careful to inform all members about his situation, through the letter he addressed to the President of the European parliament. Every commissioner has had a copy, outlining the legal and political aspects of the situation. We are keen to stress we are behind Mr Barrot on this one.” The parliament’s legal service has confirmed that nothing can be held against Mr Barrot. He still faces a call by the Liberals for him to resign or be replaced. There were lighter moments in the day, such as the unveiling of a bust of Barroso, made of toy building blocks. He has also tried to act decisively on the Stability Pact, following the Italian prime minister’s reiteration that he is determined to get the rules relaxed. Barroso said the pact is not for picking apart.