Archive for November, 2009

A new ENP for the new Commission?

Behind the flow of depressive commentaries related to the appointments of Catherine Ashton and (less so) Herman van Rompuy, there are more EU foreign policy news coming – the announcement of the new Commission’s line-up. One interesting development is the merging of enlargement and neighbourhood portfolios under one Commissioner – Stefan Fule (Czech Republic). A couple of months ago I heard a murmur in Brussels saying that it is way too early to give the enlargement portfolio to a new member state. Apparently, it is not. (I also heard the Czechs would never get a substantial portfolio because of Klaus’ foot-dragging on Lisbon.)

More importantly, I never thought that enlargement-wary EU member states would ever accept the merging of the enlargement and neighbourhood portfolios under one commissioner (though formally, Barroso is in charge of the distribution of portfolios). For many in the EU this would send all the wrong signals to states like Ukraine and Moldova that want to join the EU. It is equally true that for many this would send all the right signals (as well as the right framework for approaching relations with the EU’s neighbours). I thought the EU needs a separate commissioner for the neighbourhood, but I did not think it was politically feasible to have a commissioner for “enlargement and neighbourhood”. I proved wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

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