The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to bring about a European Union “in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen”.
Almost two months into the new year 2010, several reasons have contributed to the modest results this far.
The second Barroso Commission was finally appointed from 10 February 2010. Before that the old Commission was in a caretaker role, with no politically responsible Commission taking “appropriate initiatives” to promote the general interest. Hence, the Council and the European Parliament have been running on empty.
The European Council and the Council have met, but mainly informally, with rudimentary agendas, practically no documentation and with meagre oral summaries by the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy or by the rotating Spanish presidency after the meetings.
The Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union has hardly excelled at presenting agendas and documentation in a user-friendly and well-arranged manner, leading to a step backwards from the level attained during the Swedish presidency.
Spain has highlighted its desire to set in motion a stronger, more united and more efficient Europe to respond to citizens’ concerns.
The Spanish government could start by upgrading its communication effort for the remaining four months.