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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
EU crisis in quotes

The following are reactions to the climb-down by incoming EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who withdrew his team of commissioners on Wednesday rather than face rejection by the European Parliament.

Commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen:

As regards the interim period, nobody is sure at this stage. We are prepared to take all decisions necessary to guarantee continuity.

Martin Schulz, German MEP and leader of Socialist group:

I think it's a victory for the EU parliament... The commission needs wide support of the European Parliament - small support is not sufficient.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder:

We cannot afford an institutional conflict - we need a strong commission that is able to work.

Spokesman for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair:

What we are seeing is the perfectly proper scrutiny by the European Parliament of the nomination and election of the Commission. That's perfectly proper, what we are seeing is the European Parliament in action.

Robert Kilroy-Silk, UK Independence Party MEP and eurosceptic:

I think it's really good for parliament. If they want to hold the [EU] executive to account then they've got to show that they are serious. This is the beginnings of that.

Neil Kinnock, vice-president of outgoing EU Commission:

It isn't something we wanted. We will do our duty, but absolutely nobody wanted this.

Green leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit:

This commission did not have the majority. That is the democratic way of life.

President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell:

I think this has put the parliament in the centre of attention of European citizens and I think that's good news in itself. We complain that people don't take part in European elections, but this could help the citizens understand that this institution is alive, which can influence events.

Graham Watson, British MEP, head of Liberal group:

The position of my group was to vote against Mr Buttiglione as justice and home affairs commissioner, but in favour of Mr Buttiglione as commissioner. However, to be honest, I think it would be at least politically unwise for Mr Barroso to come back with a commission with Mr Buttiglione in it.

Michal Kaminski, Polish Conservative MEP:

I'm really afraid that the former Communists are trying to implement on a European level the same rules against the religious people they implemented in the Communist countries, 20, 30 years ago.

Jean-Louis Bourlange, French MEP for the Union for French Democracy (UDF) party:

Mr Barroso is a man with many qualities, but who comes from the European Council, and who has not understood that the European Union has de facto become a parliamentary democracy.

Philippe de Villiers, French MEP for the right-wing Movement for France (MPF):

A Christian today can't be a member of the European Commission, there you have it. It's the beginning of a new European era: Christophobia.

Italian Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, member of Northern League party:

I don't think Buttiglione should throw in the sponge. I want it to be guaranteed that European officials can do their jobs without being censured or lynched.

Barroso backs down over EU vote
27 Oct 04  |  Europe
Should Barroso reshuffle his team?
26 Oct 04  |  Have Your Say
Q&A: EU Commission row
26 Oct 04  |  Europe
Analysis: EU team a hard sell
21 Oct 04  |  Europe
At-a-glance: EU commissioners
08 Oct 04  |  Europe


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