On 28 May, the Wednesday after the European elections, Barroso reported back to the Commission from the informal dinner of heads of state and government the evening before in which the future European Commission President was discussed.
After a quite general presentation of Barroso’s impressions of the informal dinner, the minutes of the European Commission College meeting (from page 15) describe the following discussion as “very open“, potentially meaning “very controversial”.
The summary of the whole debate in the document linked above is rather general and not very enlightening (read for yourselves). What I found interesting are the following three conclusions that Barroso drew from the discussion:
First, in view of what is described as a complex result of the European elections, he asked for a “a rigorous, in-depth analysis of the ballot, which he asked the Commission’s Secretariat-General to produce, with the help of DG Communication, the Commission’s representations in the Member States and the Bureau of European Political Advisers, while drawing also on external sources. The result of this work should be presented to the College in the form of a full report which would provide a basis for a serious political analysis of the many factors at play in the European elections.”
Second, Barroso reacted to the surge of right-wing/anti-migration parties and “suggested that the Commission Members hold an in-depth policy debate on the questions surrounding migration and free movement which were apparently at the heart of many European voters’ concerns. He asked Ms REDING, Ms MALMSTRÖM and Mr ANDOR to prepare contributions for such a debate, which he suggested could be held on 18 June.”
Thirdly, potentially in view of the economic situation in Europe and in view of the UK’s view of the bureaucratic EU, Barroso “asked the Commission Members to draw up a review of the deregulation measures that had been taken in the policy areas for which they were responsible, under the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). This would also feature on the agenda of the Commission meeting of 18 June. ”
Looking at tomorrow’s Commission agenda (only French), the last point seems to have made it on the agenda because the Commission will publish a Communication on the subject.
The policy debate on migration and free movement seems to be something for the future, and I wonder what kind of conclusions the Commission will draw from these European elections…