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The role of the EU Commission, and the national interests
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-02-12 10:33:32
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Even though after the first Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, it is decided that each country will keep it’s Commissioner, after the Treaty is passed, I was wondering the implications of it. The E.U. Commission by default, should not represent national interests, therefore each state’s Commissioner, should not promote his/her country’s interests. That is how it should be at least.

So while the Irish, (and many other countries in secret) desire to keep their Commissioner, I am wondering what impact this will have in the future both of the Commission and EU. First of all, the Commission will keep growing. Now we have 27 Commissioners, when Croatia and Iceland will join we will have 29, when the West Balkans join we will have 5 more Commissioners bringing their number to 34, and if EU expands further to include Norway, Switzerland , Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine, the Caucasus Democracies and so on, we will have more and more Commissioners, and we will have to create more and more positions for them. And not only them, but with them come myriads more of their secretaries, spokes persons, assistance stuff. Who will pay all their salaries? We will. Is that a viable thing? Well now we have no choice. If no one backs down, that is the way it is going to be.

The second implication that came to my mind, is that the Commission will be for ever a chess mat for national interests and games, and that means not only the Commission will act against it’s original purpose, but the rise in competition and antagonism of all member states, both in the Commission and EU. The same reason is one of the causes of the many failures of EU so far, the internal ever lasting competition and antagonism of the member states that lead to inner squabbles, indecision, lack of initiatives and action. The EU is going in circles. And the more members will join, the more this antagonism will grow as well.We will also need a very strong leadership in the Commission to deal with all this. Are we up to it?

Do we need so many Commissioners? In my opinion, NO..!! The Commission for me should have a specific role, and that is not to lead EU, or serve the national interests of each country. But rather a more administrative role. To make sure that all member states comply with EU laws and legislation, to help member states follow the laws, refer any member state that does not comply with the laws to the European High Court for prosecution or fining, and to propose EU laws and legislation. Not represent the EU, not decision making or promote the national interests. For those purposes we have, (or we should have ,if everything in EU went as they should) the European Parliament to vote for or against laws and legislation, we should have a permanent President elected by the people and a Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed by either the Council or the European Parliament, and the Council to promote our national interests.

I also do not understand, the worry of smaller mainly countries that by losing their permanent commissioner, larger countries will have more say. I mean the rule applies to all, and even Germany, France and the United Kingdom will have to comply. They too won’t have a Commissioner for sometime in rotation. Of course I see that since the Commission is not what it should be, and it is used for promoting the national interests of each member state, then of course some countries are worried. I think we should start looking EU failures and problems, by first looking who we vote for in our national Governments and what they do. Because the British public for example, is keep blaming the EU for everything wrong that is happening to them, while the main blame should be put on their politicians, and yes, themselves who vote for them.

To conclude, in my opinion the number of Commissioners should be specific and stable. The roles of the Commission should follow suit as well. Only if we are ever able to overpass our national over-ambitions , EU will work better for us and everybody. I do not mean to give up our national interests, not at all. Rather start to think a bit more Europe. The notion “I am pro-European because EU was good for my country” says it all I guess. That way of thinking is potentially disastrous. It should be “ I am pro-European, because I believe EU is good for all nations in Europe”.

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