The Lisbon Treaty has interesting provisions for the new High Representative that will, similarly to the EU Presidentâ€™s post, take the spotlight away from the Member States chairing the EU. The new High Representative will sit both in the Commission and chair the Foreign Affairs Council. Just how schizophrenic will the person end up being, weâ€™ll see.
Itâ€™s more of a corridor talks, but letâ€™s see what happens in early 2009 when the new Treaty is supposed to enter into force. The Commission has 1 member per Member State and since the High Representative will become member of the Commission someone will be kicked out. If the unofficial agreement holds and Solana takes over the new post temporarily, until the new EP elections and the composition of the new Commission, then the current Spanish Commissioner Almunia will lose the job. Which would make the Slovenian Minister of Finance Andrej Bajuk quite happy I guess. Lot’s of criticism from Brussels recently on Slovenia’s inflation performance…
This would of course also have some consequence for the current Foreign Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Since the new High Representative will take her portfolio, she will have to pick something else. A vocal German MEP ran a nasty joke that the Austrians are already lobbying to give her “salt-water fisheries” portfolio…Jokes apart, it will be an issue towards the end of 2008.
As for the rest, the actual studies on how the actual work will be divided between the Council and Commission administrations, will be probably out soon. It’s not going to be easy. What will be the accountability of such a High Representative? What will the powers of the European Parliament over his/her work be?