European Parliament/Pietro Naj-Oleari

The Government Europe Deserves?

The most sobering message from the appointment of the EU's new leadership is that the member states will not suffer anyone who might rock the boat and push integration forward. That might come as a relief for those fearing domination by Brussels, but it can only dismay those who hope that Europe can become a relevant global actor.

BRUSSELS – With the final allocation of portfolios within its executive branch, the European Commission, the European Union has completed its change of guard. The process took almost four months, following the European Parliament election in late May, and the end result was inevitably based on a series of compromises – to be expected for an EU of 28 prickly nation-states.

Indeed, the proper functioning of EU institutions requires that no important constituency (left or right, East or West, and so forth) feels left out. And the new European Commission looks rather strong, given that more than 20 of its 28 members previously served as prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, or ministers. People who have held high political office at home find it worthwhile to come to Brussels.

But most attention has focused on the EU’s three top positions: the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, and the High Representative for external affairs.

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