Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Barroso - the good president of the European Commission

Adelina Marini, May 28, 2009

The decrease of roaming prices across Europe, the increase of travelers rights in transport, facilitation of trans-border payments are only part of the achievements, enlisted in the report of the European Commission under the presidency of Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. He presented today a report of his Commission's achievements for 2004-2009 just before the European elections. Barroso Commission started working on the 22nd of November 2004, the year when the EU enlarged with 10 new members, 8 of which former communist countries. And in 2007 another two countries joined the Union - Bulgaria and Romania.

Among the achievements in Barroso's report is the increase of prosperity in EU-27, the ambitious plans for climate change and the creation of a real European energy policy. Beside this, as the report says, the EU took leading role in forming globalisation promoting European values and protecting European interests across the globe.

Beyond the heavy wording in the Commission president's report who has the ambitions for a second 5-year term, we could mention some, not quite complete initiatives, the blame for which is not only of the Commission but the Council as well. One of the greatest achievements has been the creation of the Green paper of transparency, the main purpose of which was to enlighten and register all that do lobbyism with the Commission. The only disadvantage of the initiative was that it is not binding.

It's true that the Commission put impressive efforts for the creation of a common European energy policy but they crashed with the various interests of member states.

Barroso could write himself a red point for the fact that his Commission helped a lot for the progress of the Lisbon Treaty which will change to a great extent the institutional organisation of the EU by giving more rights to the EP, to national parliaments and to the Commission itself.

The efforts to protect, and those are one of the basic functions of the Commission according to the Community treaties, the interests of the EU, have been quite successful too, from a European point of view. And that is sharpening of the tone and actions toward countries that do not comply with their duties like Bulgaria and Romania.

The Commission also reports as a success the update of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs as well as the revision of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Another very important issue is that during the Barroso Commission the issue of consumer rights became a very important one thanks to one of the new commissioners, the Bulgarian Meglena Kuneva.

One of the main disadvantages of the Barroso Commission is that it could not establish, in spite of the lack of institutional power, the image of the Union as a strong and global player that has clear positions on key issues from the global agenda. Something, for which member states have a lot of credit. The reproach toward Barroso is that he could have been more determined and persuasive.