EU's Barroso hopes for new Commission by end-January

Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:50pm GMT

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The next European Commission, the powerful regulatory arm of the European Union, should be in place by the end of January, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday.

The last of 27 nominees for Commission posts, one from each EU member state, was proposed on Tuesday, meaning consultations now begin on how to distribute the portfolios in the body that initiates laws and implements decisions across the EU.

"We should already have a new Commission by now and we have not. I hope to have it at the end of January," Barroso told members of the European Parliament at a meeting in Strasbourg.

"Just today I received the final name of the 27 members' designated commissioners, only today. That is why we are in fact going a little bit late," he said.

Some Commission portfolios, particularly competition, internal markets, monetary affairs and trade, have broad powers and are highly sought after by member states.

France is angling to take on the internal markets portfolio in the next Commission, which could give it a say in regulating financial services. Germany is interested in the industry, trade or competition portfolios, diplomats says.

Under EU rules, the Commission should have been formed by the beginning of November. But a series of delays, including the need to ratify the Lisbon reform treaty that streamlines EU decision-making, has caused the process to be pushed back.

Commissioners serve for a five-year term and can build up widespread influence in that time. The competition commissioner, for example, has oversight on mergers and acquisitions and is responsible for enforcing anti-trust regulations.


<p>European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso displays a Rubik's Cube with the initials of EU countries as he holds a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, November 12, 2009. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir</p>
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