Tuesday, 20 October 2009


It's a clever move. Just as the prime ministers start to hunt around for someone to be the first president of their European Council so the current president of the European Commission raises his game and his profile.

Jose Manuel Barroso now faces the scrutiny of a regular question time session in the European Parliament. It sets a precedent that his successors will have no choice but to follow. He shouldn't have too much difficulty himself. As a former prime minister with 5 years' experience of leading the Commission he will be near the top of his game.

The innovation should emphasise his position as head of the EU's permanent executive, and strengthen the bond between the Parliament and the Commission.

But surely the Council will have to respond? If the president of the Commission is to face questions then the pressure will be on for the president of the Council to have to do the same. The media will have no choice but to pay attention for a couple of hours each month, and the European Parliament will be strengthened as a result.

To move things along, as a candidate for the European Council job myself, I offer myself here and now to face a regular parliamentary question session. Will others do the same?

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