Nieuws-items bij Europese Raad
09-12-2003Lidstaten: beperk budgetbevoegdheden Europees Parlement (en)
22-10-2003Tony Blair: hartproblemen veroorzaakt door sterke koffie in Brussel
17-10-2003Chirac verdedigt Duitse belangen met verve (en)
17-10-2003Conclusies Europese Raad (Brussel 16/17 oktober)
16-10-2003Onenigheid over bevoegdheden Europese minister van Buitenlandse Zaken (en)
16-10-2003Lidstaten zetten hun hakken in het zand tijdens IGC (en)
16-10-2003Italiaans voorzitterschap komt in november met compromis-Grondwet (en)
16-10-2003Grote controverse over behartiging Duitse belangen door Chirac (en)
16-10-2003Romano Prodi: "Intergovernmental conference assessment" (Press Conference)
15-10-2003Deense reserves over inrichting nieuwe Europese Commissie (en)
15-10-2003Prodi: talent Eurocommissarissen belangrijker dan geografische afkomst
15-10-2003Romano Prodi, Pre-European Council press conference
14-10-2003Chirac vervangt Schröder op Europese Raad (en)
14-10-2003Spanje bereid te onderhandelen over stemmenweging Raad (en)
14-10-2003Europarlementariërs vrezen ontrafeling Conventieresultaat (en)
08-10-2003EP in discussie met Raad over Grondwet-onderhandelingen tijdens Europese Raad 16-17 oktober
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Commission President Romano Prodi provided an off-the-cuff solution to small countries worried about representation in the Brussels executive under the new Constitution today (15 October).
It is not where you come from, it is how talented you are.
"If a small country has a very intelligent and strong commissioner, he will have a strong portfolio", Mr Prodi told journalists this morning.
The reverse is also true according to the Commission President: "If a small country does not have a strong and intelligent commissioner, he will have a small portfolio".
"This is the basic proposal that we made", said the Italian with a simple shrug.
Discussions on the size of the Commission and the possible distribution of portfolios have proven to be amongst the bitterest in the talks to finalise the EU's Constitution.
Large member states support reducing the number of commissioners with voting rights to 15, as recommended by the Convention which drew up the draft.
Smaller countries fear this will lead to a two-tiered Commission that will benefit larger countries.
Led by Finland and Austria, and supported by the Commission, they have mounted a vigorous campaign for one commissioner per member state with full voting rights.
However, some believe this will not stop large countries getting the big portfolios.
At the moment some of the most important portfolios are concentrated in the hands of commissioners from large member states - who have two commissioners each.
The remaining ten countries have one each, and each commissioner is chosen by their national government and, in theory, is supposed to represent the greater good of the community and be "completely independent in the performance of their duties".
However, some commissioners, in areas of specific national interest have been known to wade into issues wearing their 'national hats'.
Currently, the UK has a Commission vice-president and an external relations Commissioner. An Italian heads the Commission and looks after competition policy. Germans oversee enlargement and budget and two Frenchmen look after trade and regional policy.
At the other end of the scale Luxembourg's Commissioner looks after education, Belgium's Commissioner oversees research and Greece's Commissioner keeps an eye on social affairs.
The composition of the Commission will form part of the talks on the Constitution during a heads of state and government meeting in Brussels tomorrow.