Correspondent's Choice

The following article about Barroso II was published on EurActiv on 8th February 2010.

A daunting agenda awaits the incoming Barroso II team ahead of its confirmation vote in the European Parliament tomorrow (9 February), as valuable time has been lost in ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, choosing new leaders and putting in place the new EU executive.

“We have now had the longest interregnum in the Union’s history,” Sir Julian Priestley, a veteran EU insider, told this website.

Indeed, after an EU institutional reform process that began at the 2001 Laeken summit and ended with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty last December, as well as a European Commission that experienced several months of uncertainty in a caretaker capacity, a backlog of duties awaits the Barroso II team.

Sir Julian, who was secretary-general of the European Parliament from 1997 to 2007, said it was “no-one’s fault” if valuable time had been lost, but stressed that there was an urgent need to make up for it.

“The agenda is horrendously daunting – a new economic programme and growth strategy to take over from the Lisbon Agenda, with measures to encourage active labour market policies and competitiveness; encouraging the earliest possible return to financial stability in the member states; completing the internal market and pursuing the better regulation objectives; dealing with the Copenhagen fall-out; the next stage of the new regulatory framework for banks and financial services; reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, structural policies and the budget; and dealing with the next and very tricky stage of the enlargement process,” Sir Julian said.

In parallel, he said, the EU executive was responsible for making the new Lisbon Treaty institutions work and repairing the public damage done to the Union’s standing by ten years of delay and procrastination about Europe’s institutional architecture.

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