On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, invites Germany and other interested European states to place their iron and steel production under the authority of a supranational European institution. As Schuman’s address could not be recorded on 9 May 1950, the Minister had to take part in a re-enactment of the event for posterity.
In his editorial of 20 June 2003 regarding the composition of the Commission, Ferdinando Riccardi, Chief Editor of the Europe Daily Bulletin, criticises the arrangements set out in the Treaty of Nice that provide for ‘a Commissioner for every Member State', and also the arrangements set out in the draft European Convention providing for a reduction in the number of Commissioners with full voting rights. In his view, it is necessary to maintain the principle of differentiation between large and small countries in place since the very beginning of Community history.
The principle of equal rotation between Commissioners as laid down in the draft Constitution drawn up by the European Convention does not reflect the opinion of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Jean-Luc Dehaene (the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Convention), who prefer a smaller ‘college’ of Commissioners. On 21 June 2003, the French daily newspaper Le Monde sets out their arguments.
In this ‘Paper’ published on 2 December 2003 in the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir, the members of the Presidium of the European Convention explain the Convention’s proposal concerning the compostion of the European Commission in the light of the role played by the institution to date.
Members of the European Commission which took office on 22 November 2004 under the Presidency of José Manuel Barroso. This document shows the composition of the Commission after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union on 1 January 2007.
In this interview excerpt, Philippe de Schoutheete, Belgian Permanent Representative to the European Union from 1987 to 1997 and Special Adviser to European Commissioner Michel Barnier from 1999 to 2004, discusses the numerical composition of the European Commission, particularly focusing on the positions adopted by Belgium and the other Member States.