Dutch ask Prodi to stay as EC crisis deepens

27th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government asked outgoing European Commission President Romano Prodi on Wednesday to stay on in the post after his successor postponed a vote in the European Parliament on his proposed line-up of new commissioners.

27 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government asked outgoing European Commission President Romano Prodi on Wednesday to stay on in the post after his successor postponed a vote in the European Parliament on his proposed line-up of new commissioners.

The sticking point is candidate justice commissioner, Italian Rocco Buttiglione, who has been severely criticised by MEPs for voicing controversial views on gay people and women.

Faced with the prospect of having his entire commission rejected, incoming EC president Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday withdrew his motion seeking the parliament's approval for his new commission that is meant to start work on 1 November. The issue may not be put to the Parliament again for up to a month.

There were reports early in the day that the Dutch government, which holds the six-month rotating EU Presidency, was working to organise an emergency summit about the crisis for Thursday. But by early afternoon Dutch officials indicated there would not be a snap meeting of EU leaders.

EU heads of state and government leaders — including Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende — will however be meeting in Rome Friday for the already scheduled signing of the new European Constitution.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende asked Prodi on Wednesday to stay on until there is more certainty about the new commission. It is unclear how long Prodi will remain in the post.

Buttiglione recently said homosexuality was a sin. He also suggested unmarried women made bad mothers. These comments sparked a storm of criticism and about 50 percent of MEPs are opposed to the Italian being appointed to the EC.

As the rules prevent vetoing him alone, the MEPs would have to reject the entire commission to block his appointment.

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot said he was not opposed to Buttiglione being appointed to the EC. He said the Dutch Cabinet had urged Dutch MEPs to vote in favour on Wednesday of the proposed commission line-up, including Buttiglione, newspaper De Volskrant reported

Besides Buttiglione, the Dutch candidate competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes has also been under fire for feared conflicts of interest due to her strong links to the international business community.

She has promised to not give rulings on companies she has worked for in the past, often as a member of the board of commissioners.

But Dutch opposition party Labour PvdA believes the chaos surrounding the EC will place Kroes' candidacy up for debate again. France and Germany are opposed to Kroes being appointed to the EC and could use the crisis to raised renewed doubts about her suitability, PvdA MP Frans Timmermans said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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