Parliament delays vote on Barroso Commission team
27 October 2004
BRUSSELS – Incoming European Commission president José Manuel Barroso on Wednesday convinced the European Parliament to delay a vote on the new line-up, promising to take more time to “get it right”.
A new 25-member team was scheduled to take office on 1 November, but Barroso told the EU legislature that he needs more time to look at the issue and consult with EU governments in order to have strong support for the new Commission.
“It is better to take time to get it right,” he said in Strasbourg.
The move came amid growing evidence that the 732-member Parliament would reject the Commission amid anger over public remarks made by Italy’s Rocco Buttiglione, the nominee for justice and home affairs commissioner, that he is opposed to homosexuality and single motherhood.
Legislators can only vote for or against the list of nominees as a whole, not on individuals.
Meanwhile, Romano Prodi-led Commission has promised to serve beyond 31 October until the matter can be resolved, though it’s not clear how long that will take.
In a statement Wednesday the EU executive said that that Prodi has agreed to continue in office “to ensure institutional continuity”.
Speaking to journalists in Brussels, Commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen declined to say how long the current team might stay in office, but said that the business as usual applies both to Commissioners and their cabinets.
A Commission official added that the current team would handle only “urgent matters,” but suggested there was no legal precedent for the current situation.
“We find ourselves in exceptional legal circumstances,” the official said, adding that the Prodi-led team would stay in office “in a cautious way.”
The parliament has never rejected an incoming Commission, but wielded its power somewhat similarly in 1999 when it forced the Jacques Santer-led executive to resign eight months before its term ended amid charges of financial management and cronyism.
At that time, the Commission also stayed in a caretaker role until the Prodi team took over.
For the foreseeable future, Prodi plans to stay at his office in the Breydel, though the new Commission was scheduled to move into the revamped Berlaymont building that reopened earlier this week at the start of its term.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject : Belgian news