2004-2009: An evaluation of the Barroso Commission

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European Commission President José Manuel Barroso spent the summer preparing his programme for the next five years after his bid to secure a second term was put on ice by the European Parliament's political group leaders in July - EurActiv asked key stakeholders to assess the Barroso Commission's achievements and failures.

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Overview

The Barroso Commission started its work against a backdrop of an enlargement unprecedented in its scale and ambition. Ten new member states joined the European Union in 2004, and the EU completed its accession of East European countries by admitting Bulgaria and Romania at the beginning of 2007. 

Consolidation of the enlarged Europe took place during challenging political times. While there were doubts about the effectiveness of key policy tools such as the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs and the Stability and Growth Pact (see EurActiv LinksDossiers on the Lisbon Strategy and the Stability and Growth Pact respectively), the EU signed a Constitutional Treaty in 2004. 

But this was later rejected by two founding members of the Union, France and the Netherlands, forcing the bloc to re-examine the way it engages and communicates with EU citizens. 

Pressure from within Europe was matched by growing worldwide challenges such as globalisation, energy security, climate change and migration, all of which required Europe to act. 

The Commission's response has been somewhat mixed. After a slow start, it pushed for clear legislation on energy, climate change and asylum, but failed to foresee and respond to the financial crisis, according to European stakeholders. 

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