|Vol.7, No.20, 17.5.01, p11(editorial)
Romano Prodi could be forgiven for feeling more than "surprised" this week after discovering that two of his most senior officials had made unflattering comments about his adminstration.
What they said is bad enough.
Where they said it - in a paper for a think-tank run by the highly-respected former Commission President Jacques Delors - is worse.
That is likely to have embarrassed Prodi as much as the criticisms of an "overcautious" administration "not exercising sufficiently its fundamental task" and lacking "strategic inspiration".
If the Commission were a commercial organisation and Prodi its chief executive, the two officials would possibly be fired or at least asked to consider their positions. Certain member states might have taken a similarly dim view of actions that could be regarded as bordering on the disloyal. But the Commission is neither a private concern nor a member state. Its president, by all accounts, is keen to encourage healthy debate.
One of the authors of the controversial Delors paper, Energy and Transport Director-General Francois Lamoureux, points out that his comments were supposed to be a private contribution for the think-tank to reflect on.
In the interests of healthy debate, he should perhaps stand up for his convictions. Especially now the damage is done.
At least his job looks safe. Prodi's spokesman says the officials broke no rules because they are entitled to discuss their views in private.
Most reasonable people, however, know that think-tanks have a habit of publishing the reflections of their members. The authors will possibly reflect on that next time they are tempted to air their views.
Romano Prodi could be forgiven for feeling more than 'surprised' after discovering that two of his most senior officials had made unflattering comments about his administration in a paper for a think-tank run by the highly-respected former Commission President, Jacques Delors.
|Politics and International Relations