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Complicated institutional puzzle

2009/08/31

The Swedish governmentHolidays are coming to an end and the European institutions are back at work. As committees convene in the European Parliament this week, just about all Swedish ministers will be in Brussels to present the presidency priorities within their respective fields of work. This is normal procedure in the beginning and the end of each presidency.

I’ll be visiting the Constitutional Affairs committee, on which I sat for five years as MEP. I am looking forward to discussions with new members and former colleagues on issues such as the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish referendum and the nomination of the new Commission.

It is a complicated institutional puzzle that is to be put together during the next few weeks. First of all, we have to wait for the results of the referendum in Ireland on 2 October. In case of a positive vote in Ireland, there is however still uncertainty as whether the President of the Czech Republic will sign the parliament’s ratification of the Treaty.

If and when the Treaty will finally be ratified in all Member States, we will start preparing for a new Commission, the appointment of the new High Representative – who will also be heading the new EU foreign service – and also appoint a permanent President of the European Council. The best case scenario is that all these posts will be filled when EU Heads of State and Government meet in Brussels in late October.

If the Irish people, however, choose to reject the Lisbon Treaty, we will have to start immediate preparations for a Commission according to the current Nice Treaty. This means a Commission that consists of fewer members than the number of Member States.

EPNo matter which Treaty will be in force later this year, there is a number of issues where the European Parliament will involved, and each candidate for the Commission will be subject to parliamentary hearings. I am quite sure there will be a lot of questions and comments about this tomorrow!

In order to move on with the Commission, we need the European Parliament to approve José Manuel Barroso as the new president. This is already on the draft agenda for Parliament’s September session, but the final decision is yet to be made.

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