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Brussels Diary

It's uncertain how many EU commissioners there'll be. That makes appointing them tricky

By Manneken Pis   October 2009

With the renomination of José Manuel Barroso now confirmed, the real fight over the next European commission can begin. The allocation of portfolios at the start of the commission president’s term is arguably his most important job because it sets the ideological framework for the next five years. Some portfolios, such as competition, are hugely powerful; others, such as multilingualism, were invented so more member states could have a representative on the ever-expanding “college” of commissioners. 

Most of the big member states have already staked their claims to one of the economic portfolios. Barroso’s next step of negotiating with national…

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