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Is it just me, or has the European Council become much more active, assertive and powerful with respect to the Commission since the appointment of a full time President of the Council, and in particular, since Tusk got the job? It may be that it is just a consequence of Brexit dominating the agenda so much, where A.50 gives the Council the decisive role.

There was talk, at one stage, of combining the two roles to create a "President of Europe" to answer the Kissinger question of who do you talk to in Europe if you need a quick decision on an urgent matter; but I suspect that idea was abandoned when they realized it would have to be a directly elected position if it were ever to gain much legitimacy. One look at the US system of electing presidents would have been enough to put them off that idea.

But it is clear that while the position of President of the Council is reserved for a current or former prime minister or President and member of the Council, almost any cabinet minister of a major power has a chance of becoming President of the Commission. Of the 12 Presidents of the Commission prior to VDL since 1967, only Barroso and Prodi were previously Prime Ministers (Italy have rather a lot) if you discount the two Prime Minsters of Luxembourg - Santer and Juncker - who don't really count...

So a senior cabinet Minster of a major power is more or less par for the course for Commission President, while only Prime Ministers need apply for the Council job, even if they are often on the way out in their home countries...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 17th, 2019 at 10:32:07 AM EST
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