Štefan Füle, the European Union's commissioner-designate for enlargement, breezed through his parliamentary hearing on 12 January by strategically defining his mandate and saying he will treat Turkey's EU entry bid fairly.
Reappointed European Commission President José Manuel Barroso's pledge to reinvigorate the EU's social agenda has received a mixed reception among stakeholders, with some tentatively hopeful and others fearing "business as usual".
European Socialist Party leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen yesterday (8 September) issued a scathing dismissal of José Manuel Barroso's programme of priorities for the next five years, describing it as "business as usual" and claiming he had "stumbled at the first hurdle" in his re-election campaign.
Political analysts in Brussels are urging the next European Commission to be bolder and more strategic than it has been so far in proposing ways out of the crisis as it will have to ward off economic nationalism and win over EU governments and citizens.
The European Commission published the details of its 2009 work programme earlier this month. The document is surprisingly ambitious given that the Barroso executive's mandate ends halfway through 2009.
As the European Commission prepares to unveil its voluntary lobbyists register next month, Brussels insiders say no meaningful decisions are to be expected before the next Commission is appointed in autumn 2009.