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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 19:55 GMT
EU's Barroso names Commissioners
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso asks MEPs to approve his Commission
Mr Barroso asks MEPs to back his reshuffled team
The new head of the European Commission has urged the European Parliament to approve his 25-strong executive team so they can get to work.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was forced to withdraw his original line-up of Commission members after objections from MEPs.

Mr Barroso formally presented his revised team on Wednesday, ahead of a vote by MEPs on Thursday.

MEPs are also expected to vote for new powers to sack Commissioners.

Mr Barroso, who dropped two of his original choices under parliamentary pressure, said his team was "ready and anxious to build a better Europe".

Row over Italian

MEPs are expected to endorse the new line-up on Thursday, ending a bruising row in which Mr Barroso had to withdraw his entire line-up after MEPs objected to his choice of Italian conservative Rocco Buttiglione as Justice Commissioner.

He eventually dropped Mr Buttiglione, whose statements on homosexuality and women's rights had run into widespread opposition from MEPs.

But MEPs want more power to force the dismissal of Commissioners who lose the confidence of the European Parliament.

At present, they can only vote to dismiss the entire Commission. A compromise resolution before the parliament on Thursday calls on the president to sack Commissioners, or explain himself.

They are expected to approve a motion giving them the power to sack individual Commissioners on Thursday.

Unpopular choice

Mr Barroso has named another Italian, Franco Frattini, as Justice Commissioner.

But controversy still surrounds his choice of the Dutch nominee, Neelie Kroes, as Competition Commissioner.

MEPs have questioned her suitability for the job, saying her past experience as a director of a dozen companies may lay her open to conflicts of interest.

"She's very dangerous for the credibility of your Commission," Monica Frassoni, leader of the grouping of Green MEPs, warned the incoming Commission president when she spoke in the Strasbourg parliament on Wednesday.

Each of the European Union's 25 member states is able to appoint one member of the Commission, the EU's executive body, a fact that turned the row over Mr Buttiglione into a matter of Italian national pride.

The other original nominee missing from the final selection is Ingrida Udre, a Eurospectic from Latvia.

The UK government's decision to send disgraced ex-cabinet minister Peter Mandelson to Brussels aroused little controversy. Mr Mandelson has resigned twice from the British government amid allegations of cronyism and financial impropriety.

Both sides say they are now happy

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