A European caretaker Commission may have to manage for a while if the team with Jose Manuel Barroso as president fails to win the European Parliament’s approval.
Rocco Buttiglione with the justice portfolio is at the centre of the suspense, after expressing conservative views on gays and women. No word got out of a closed meeting today of the new college but spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen answered reporters’ questions: “A ‘no’ vote would mean that a new college could not take office. That, I think, is completely clear. Therefore, the caretaker commission would have to remain in office until that situation were resolved. I think there’s a variety of options possible — political solutions that would have to be found in case of a ‘no’ vote.” Outgoing Commission head Romano Prodi, visiting EU candidate Bulgaria, is said to be available to stay on temporarily if necessary. Parliament sources say the EU executive will very narrowly win its investiture vote next Wednesday. If not, the seven people who failed to find favour in their confirmation hearings would go and others would need to be nominated.