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Britain and Ireland could be forced to share one European Commission seat

Daniel Martin
UK Daily Mail [1]
Sunday, Aug 10, 2008

Britain would be forced to share a European Commissioner with Ireland under plans being drawn up by France.

With France now at the helm of the six-month rotating EU Presidency, President Nicholas Sarkozy is looking for ways to cut the number of national representatives in the European Commission.

But critics say it is a back door plan to reduce our influence in Europe, and that it proves the EU wants to push on with the Lisbon Treaty despite its rejection by the Irish.

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At the moment, there are 27 commissioners, one for each member state – ensuring each country has a voice at the top level of European decisionmaking.

Britain’s commissioner is Peter Mandelson, the former trade minister who was forced to resign from Tony Blair’s Cabinet twice.

But President Sarkozy says 27 is too many, and has suggested that countries with similar cultural backgrounds should be prepared to share a commissioner – citing the UK and Ireland as an example.

This is despite the fact that Britain is one of the largest contributors to EU coffers.

And there is no mention of France having to share, even though it has a very similar population to the UK.

Neil O’Brien at Open Europe, the Eurosceptic think tank, said: ‘It would be barmy to try and force countries to share commissioners.

Full article here [1]