• Commission President José Manuel Barroso made it clear today that it will be the European Commission that will represent EU member states in external action worldwide, barring the CFSP (external security policy), but including economic affairs and all post-Copenhagen negotiations on the climate agenda.
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the programme of the Spanish presidency, Mr Barroso pointed out that this was the first rotating presidency since the Lisbon treaty came into force and the changes must be implemented.
"We have a high representative, who is vice president of the commission, and at the same time she is president of the council of ministers of foreign affairs," Barroso said, referring to Baroness Ashton.
"It is the Commission that will represent the Union," Barroso maintained. "It is not the European Council that will represent the Union in external action. Henceforth, there will be heads of government representing their own countries. But who represents the Union in external matters, apart from CFSP? It will be the Commission."
Barroso said this was the reason he created a portfolio on the climate agenda, hoping the new commissioner "will have the utmost support to represent the Union in post-Copenhagen negotiations - let's be clear about that too.
"Barroso urged parliamentarians to read the Lisbon treaty. "Henceforth, with the Lisbon treaty, we don't need to invent anything new, we have the mechanisms."
Referring to economic policy, Barroso said "there too you need to read the Lisbon treaty. There are people who think that the economic policy is a purely national question and that is not true."
"We have a responsibility to apply the treaty to the letter and in its spirit," Barroso said in his concluding remarks.