Metcalfe, Les (1999) Reforming the Commission. EIPASCOPE, 1999 (3). pp. 1-7.
[Introduction]. Predictions about important developments in European politics are always hazardous. At the beginning of this year, with the successful launch of the Euro behind him, Jacques Santer was considered a candidate for a second term as President of the Commission. No-one foresaw the chain of events that led rapidly to the resignation of the whole Commission and the installation of a new Commission led by Romano Prodi. Nor was it easy to foresee that in a short space of time a fundamental reform of the Commission would become a top priority. Although there has been a long-standing concern about the deficiencies of the Commission it seemed likely that institutional reform would, as on previous occasions, be pushed aside in favour of new policy initiatives with more political appeal. However, amidst the allegations of nepotism, fraud, mismanagement and neglect that led to the first report of the "Committee of Independent Experts" on 15 March 1999, it was hard for anyone to argue against fundamental reform. The publication of the report precipitated the resignation of all the Commissioners. The crisis immediately prompted proposals for root and branch reform of the organisation. It could hardly have been otherwise when the report concluded that "The studies carried out by the Committee have too often revealed a growing reluctance among the members of the hierarchy to acknowledge their responsibility. It is becoming difficult to find anyone who has even the slightest sense of responsibility." (First Report, Committee of Independent Experts p.144, 1999). The Commission sometimes described as the "conscience" of the EU system appeared, in Freudian terms, to be more "id" than "superego".
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