How well do you think the European Commission is doing its job? That was the main question asked in a survey published by Burson-Marsteller and EURACTIV.
“What we have done is look into the commitments made by individual commissioners before the EP in 2010 and we have compared how citizens think the EC is doing. This is an attempt to ensure the accountability of the EC. This is not a euroskeptic exercise at all, but an attempt to create better European governance”, said Burson-Marsteller CEO David Earnshaw.
The results of the Mid-term review were unveiled on Tuesday. Over 800 people working in EU policy participated in the survey, which showed wide-spread criticism of the Commission’s performance.
“There is an important message in this survey and that it the disquiet and concern that people feel about how this crisis is being handled and the lack of confidence that people have in many parts of the society that Europe has the solutions to the problems they are facing in their daily lives”, said former Deputy Secretary-General of the European Parliament & Director-General of the EP Presidency (2004-2009) David Harley.
The current euro crisis is increasing the pressure on the Commission and will continue to be the main challenge for the next two years. Growth, jobs and social policy were also identified as top priorities in the survey.
“These results are not good, for the EC or for Mr. Barroso personally. They should be taken very seriously. (…). We have been preaching about the need for more jobs and more growth but those words and fine intentions have not yet been reflected in the practical policies that the people of Europe are paying for every year through the EU budget”.
“We have to take a step back and really start preparing a different institutional arquitecture in Europe. The EC must become more accountable”, Harley said.
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton received the worst ratings.
Work on the EU Digital Agenda continues to be perceived as the most valuable achievement of the Commission. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes was also rated with the biggest improvement since last year and as the best communicator.
The results are not good. Barroso gets 2.5 out of 10. Cathy Ashotn gets 2 out of 10. The star performance is Neelie Kroes. Our findings appear to demonstrate that it is not about the leadership of Barroso or the individual performances. It is about the EC’s overall failure to deliver policy. The biggest challenge is to focus, to have ambition and to demonstrate leadership”, Earnshaw said.
When asked at the daily Midday Briefing on Tuesday, the Commission refused to comments on the criticism arguing that it never comments on surveys.
Looking forward to the next Commission in 2014, respondents expressed their desire for the future president to be a more prominent political figure.
“What we have identified is a clear desire by the European public for a big hitter, for a big beast. We see names like Angela Merkel, Guy Vanhofstdat, even Tony Blair, despite Irak, despite the UK problems with Europe (…). In other words, not another second rate leader”, said Burson-Marsteller CEO David Earnshaw.
But if the EPP wins the elections, another term for Barroso seems like a strong possibility.