The European Union is already inflated with non-jobs for all the boys and girls and nothing on the horizon suggests a change in mindset – reports our secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude
Every scholar knows that if the European Union goes on expanding – Serbia next if it can sort out its war criminal trials, Bosnia-Hercegovina if the partners in the arranged marriage can ever decide anything, Turkey, not for a very long time, Kosovo, Montenegro and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to make up what was Yugoslavia – it cannot go on with a European Commission that has a seat for every member state.
The bloated commission is already inflated with non-jobs for all the boys and girls. It had already scrapped together a deal that gave some member states two commissioners.
The member states acted resolutely to cure commission-elephantiasis. In the Treaty of Lisbon of 2008, they self-denyingly decided that with effect from November 2014 the commission would have seats for two thirds of the number of member states. There would be ‘strict equal’ rotation among member states in proposing commissioners.
The rule would be that “the difference between the total number of terms of office held by nationals of any given pairs of member states may never be more than one”. That is the firm slap of a decision. It was obviously a holding measure but it was also a precedent. It would have to be looked at again as and when the union grew.
The ink was not long dry on the signatures on the treaty before the issue was looked at again. Ireland had made itself the spokesman for opposition to the aforesaid decision in the treaty, which it was busy ratifying. The idea that in sequence a member state would not be at the top table was anathema.
Accordingly, the European Council looked again at the reduction plan and saw that it could change it by unanimity. So reform went out of the window and the council, unanimously, decided to maintain the status-quo ante. That is how it will be this month. You can do nothing about it now. What a mess.