Jerzy Buzek is the new president of the European Parliament. There isn’t much power associated with the job, but it will be seen as a symbol of new member states gaining influence in Brussels. “For my country, it’s very important,” Mr Buzek told the Financial Times before the vote. “And for new member states – I hear it in parliament all the time – it would have a lot of symbolic importance.”
Perhaps Mr Buzek’s election really does reflect a change in power structures. “Poland was so eager to win the post that, according to one senior E.U. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, Prime Minister Donald Tusk held no fewer than 15 meetings to lobby other heads of state and party leaders,” says the International Herald Tribune. Read more
What should be the top five priorities of the next European Commission?
1) Top of my list is the defence, and if possible the strengthening, of the single European market. This is the European Union’s bedrock achievement. It secures prosperity for its citizens, and it underpins the EU’s collective weight in the world. Without the single market, the EU would lose not merely its cohesion but its very reason for existence. The single market is under strain at present because of the emergency measures taken over the past year to prop up Europe’s banking system. These have, in effect, suspended the EU’s state aid rules in this sector. The Commission will need to be tough in making sure that EU governments do not manipulate the rules as the emergency measures are gradually withdrawn. Meanwhile, it should continue to press the case for integrating and liberalising the EU’s service sector, which accounts for two-thirds of all EU economic activity. Read more