German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has indicated that he will be flexible on the issue of how many commissioners there should be in a future EU.
Speaking at Rotterdam University on Thursday, the chancellor said that Germany could eventually accept not always having its own representative in the Brussels executive. Schröder said the number of commissioners could be reduced so that all 25 member-states, including Germany, would take turns at going without a representative on the Commission. "A compromise could be found in maintaining for a few years the principle where each member-state is represented in the Commission with one commissioner", said the Chancellor. He added that the principle of equal rotation would be introduced. "That would mean that not only small member states but also the large ones would in the future have to regularly forgo a commissioner". The number of commissioners in a future EU is one of the big issues still to be resolved in the negotiations on Europe's Constitution. Germany's concession is important as smaller countries, particularly Austria, which have been fighting tooth and nail for one commissioner per member state, have indicated they will only accept a smaller commission so long as rotation is done on an equal basis. Thursday also saw Poland and Spain, formerly renowned for blocking an advance on the treaty negotiations, reiterate their preparedness to compromise. (EUobserver.com)