Tuesday, 20 January 2004
European Presidency: Statements.
John Bruton (Meath, Fine Gael)
Germany agreed to it reluctantly and with deep and lasting bitterness. We must realise that. It agreed for the sake of Europe. As far as Europe is concerned, the Germans' agreement to the Nice treaty could be said to be the last instalment of their political payments to discharge their war guilt. That German concession is not a sound foundation upon which to build a new Europe.
I am not quite sure where the Government stands on this, but the idea of a 25 or 30-person Commission seems ludicrous. It could not work other than on the basis of its President being a semi-dictator and there would be no real collegial discussions. Fifteen is about the maximum number possible. As somebody who has chaired a diverse Government, I know something about this.