Political expert Mario Telo, from the Institute for European Studies in Brussels, speaks to euronews about the European Commission-in-waiting.
Sergio Cantone, euronews: “This Commission is often said to have become a bureaucratic, grey, barely political organisation. Will it spring any surprises on us?”
Mario Telo: “It is possible that the Commission will make use of an exceptional opportunity offered in article 17 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which is a provision for democratic legitimacy and parliamentary majority. The electorate with their votes in June showed their preference on the make-up of the Commission and I would say on expectations concerning the role played by the commission in the EU’s political system.”
euronews: “In his first term of office, critics often accused Barroso of giving in too easily to what the Council wanted — to the member states, the national governments, of having a political personality which was far too light-weight. Is that so? And will it be during his second term of office?”
Telo: “The first Barroso Commission was born within a framework of humiliation for the Prodi Commission, especially because of Great Britain’s vetoes, the Blair government. Prodi had begun promising “the government of Europe”, and he carried his term to its conclusion under difficult conditions. Barroso began with a low profile. We hope that the second Barroso Commission politicises the Commission in a specific way, which is to say like a grand coalition government, between socialists, liberals and Christians.”
euronews: “Will he manage to shed this label he’s been given, mostly by the left in the European Parliament, of this being an excessively neo-liberal Commission?”
euronews: “This Commission is less neo-liberal than the one before. Even the European People’s Party adopted and promoted such personalities as Barnier, who can’t be defined as a neo-liberal. What’s more, we’ve noticed an evolution in Barroso’s positions, for example the Europe 2020 project, which will pick up from the Lisbon Strategy. Generally, one can say that, after the financial crisis, the EU is showing it is sensitive to the demands that the market must be better balanced, with necessary regulation. It’s rather a centre-left government, I’d say. Broadly speaking, it should take on a political role of the EU in the multilateral architecture of the world of the 21st century.”