European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced the nomination of Edmund Stoiber as chair of the group on 14 September 2007, praising him as "an outstanding personality of high repute" who had been "at the forefront of efforts to improve legislation in Bavaria, Germany and Europe".
Barroso considers the setting up of the high-level group as "a flagship project for the Commission". The ambitious programme, presented by the Commission last January and endorsed by the European Council of March 2007, aims to cut the administrative burdens of business in the EU by 2012 by 25%. German Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen hopes that this "growth programme" will reduce the economy's burden by €75 billion.
"The group will play a crucial role in identifying the unnecessary administrative burdens that we need to remove," according to Verheugen. Comprising representatives of small and large business organisations, trade unions, NGOs as well as the world academia and politics, the group will meet once or twice per month and will be supported by its own staff.
The nomination of Stoiber, who will step down as prime minister of Bavaria at the end of September, as chair of the new board, provoked mixed reactions in Brussels and Germany. Whereas Barroso, Verheugen and the German government welcomed Stoiber's nomination, certain members of the German opposition and MEPs voiced their disapproval. The leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, expressed "serious doubts over the qualification" of the Bavarian prime minister, referring to the lack of progress in the field of reducing bureaucracy in his home state. Although Stoiber will serve on a voluntary basis, Schulz considered the step as "a job-creation measure for disused politicians".
Stoiber called his new job "an attractive task" and said he was looking forward to collaborating with Barroso and the Commission.