Dutch foreign minister calls for smaller European Commission

The European Union needs reform to create a ‘smaller, reformed commission’, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans says in an article in Friday’s Financial Times.

Referring to the rise in nationalist, anti-European political parties, Timmermans says people are currently being ‘lured by the europhobic populist Pied Pipers who portray a glorious nationalist past that never was as a model for a future that will never be’.

Europe’s leaders cannot sit back but need to take charge of Europe again and restore the political balance within the EU, Timmermans says.


Firstly, European leaders need to draw up a governance manifesto which should lay down ‘what Europe needs to focus on, and also what Europe needs to leave to the states’.

Secondly, the EU needs to ‘create a smaller, reformed commission with a president and vice presidents heading a limited number of policy clusters,’ Timmermans writes. ‘The vice presidents would have the sole authority to initiate legislation. This would restore the commission’s focus and strengthen its clout.’

Finally, national parliaments should have the right to summon commissioners to appear before them and if one-third of member states object to a proposal on subsidiarity grounds, it should be dropped, Timmermans states.

‘Europeans distrust a Europe that overpromises and underdelivers. These proposals are meant to introduce more modesty where it is urgently needed and more ambition where it is lacking today,’ the minister concludes.

Read the full text on Timmermans Facebook page

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