OK, so the Treaty of Lisbon is not going to be ratified this year, and perhaps not at all. So what happens to all the top positions in the EU that need to be decided upon? First and foremost there will be no permanent President of the European Council – not necessarily a bad thing (although it does mean that my whodoicall.eu campaign will be on ice for now). There will also be no ‘EU Foreign Minister’ – there will still be the High Representative for CFSP as now, and an External Relations Commissioner… Or will there be the latter? Have a read of this article from Article 4 from the Protocol on the Enlargement of the European Union from the Treaty of Nice:
2. When the Union consists of 27 Member States, Article 213(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and Article 126(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community shall be replaced by the following:
â€˜1. The Members of the Commission shall be chosen on the grounds of their general competence and their independence shall be beyond doubt.
The number of Members of the Commission shall be less than the number of Member States. The Members of the Commission shall be chosen according to a rotation system based on the principle of equality, the implementing arrangements for which shall be adopted by the Council, acting unanimously.
The number of Members of the Commission shall be set by the Council, acting unanimously.â€™
This amendment shall apply as from the date on which the first Commission following the date of accession of the 27th Member State of the Union takes up its duties.
So the number of European Commissioners from 2009 should be less than the number of Member States (i.e. 26 or less), but the Treaty is unclear on how many Commissioners there should be. So maybe the decision should be for there to be 26 Commissioners, and the country that does not get one is the country from which the High Rep for CFSP originates? A pragmatic compromise? Oh, and then that makes one person who’s speaking for the EU in the world… Sound familiar?
(Please note: this is a post about a pragmatic and institutional question as a result of the Irish No. If you want to debate the merits (or not) of the No vote then please do so in response to my main post about the referendum result).