Reforms must go on

Series Title
Series Details Vol.7, No.38, 18.10.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 18/10/2001
Content Type

Date: 18/10/01

NEIL Kinnock today faces another, not altogether unexpected, setback in his hopes of reforming the pay and recruitment structure in the EU institutions. European Parliament Vice-President Catherine Lalumière has predicted that legal challenges will be mounted if the internal reform commissioner presses ahead with his preferred option to streamline the existing staff grading structure.

This could paralyse the institutions, she warns, calling for a less drastic overhaul of the system falling short of the much-vaunted linear solution favoured by Kinnock. Lalumière is not a maverick - as one of the Parliament's team of vice-presidents sitting on the staff committee, her views are bound to carry weight.

However, Kinnock must not be deflected from his mission to transform an administration modelled on 1950s practices into an efficient body equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century and an expanding EU. There are no easy solutions. But the institutions must respond to realities if they are to properly serve the millions of citizens across the EU in the future. This is not an issue that can be endlessly put off like the take-overs directive, or made unworkable by revision after revision. Kinnock must use all his boundless powers of persuasion to win round the doubters and deliver.

  • None of the present batch of commissioners - nor in fact any in the past - can claim to be legends in their own lifetime. Certainly, few had the energy of Nelson Mandela, the 83-year-old former president of South Africa who dropped in at the Breydel this week.

As he stood next to the Commission President, it was Romano Prodi who seemed the much older man.

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