After having read the minutes of the European Commission meeting of 14 May, I feel so, so sorry for the European Commission.
In their discussion about the (then) upcoming European elections, all the Commissioners and the outgoing President Barroso seemed to think about was how unfairly they are treated (p. 16):
“Turning to the European elections to be held from 22 to 25 May, the Commission Members considered that the Commission was often the focus of criticism aimed at the Union. […] The Commission Members regretted … the contradictory nature of some of the political criticism levelled at the Commission’s work by political groupings which had often approved, or even called for this work in the context of the interinstitutional decision-making process.”
In response to this, Barroso
“pointed out that it was natural that it should be criticised during political debates because it was a political body. However, he deplored the often unfounded criticism of the Commission by sectors that had traditionally been in favour of European integration, which simply gave more weight to more extreme and Eurosceptic arguments.”
Poor, poor European Commission, surrounded by misunderstanding and bad will!
But Barroso, the outgoing saviour of the European project, then called on the group of convinced and convincing fellow Commissioners to save the Commission from all this undue criticism, because everything they did was simply great:
“Pointing out that the Commission had stood the test of time in every area and throughout a number of crises, he asked the Commission Members to put forward a balanced position in the debate, in other words to defend its policies without, however, putting the Commission in the forefront of the campaign. Lastly, he urged each Commissioner to play a leading role at Member State level in responding to the criticism levelled at the Commission and in particular to provide sound arguments against the populist discourse hostile to the European idea. “
Now that the struggle is almost over, will the new European Commission President (whoever it will be) be able to take over the sword and fight against all those who dare to criticise it? Preventing criticism is important, because, if every criticism to the European Commission is bad and feeds “the populist discourse hostile to the European idea”!
So let’s hope the heads of state and government will propose a candidate that can stand their undue criticism, and that the European Parliament will confirm this candidate who can stand its undue criticism, so that the European Commission can work undisturbed for the 5 years to come…