Discussions were based on a brief working paper focusing on five questions: the Presidency of the European Commission, the integration of the High Representative into the Commission, the Presidency of the European Council and the Council, funding the EU, and the legal consequences of merging the Treaties.

The option of a Congress, a new inter-parliamentary body discussed at the Convention's last plenary session (see European Report 2723 for further details) which would elect the Commission President, failed to receive any support. The status quo, i.e. appointment by the European Council, following endorsement by Parliament, the preferred option of a majority within the College until now, was also discarded. President Romano Prodi urged his colleagues to draw the consequences of their collective desire to expand the role and initiative of the Commission on the co-ordination of economic policies, justice and home affairs and foreign policy, which, he insisted, demands an improvement in its political responsibility and democratic legitimacy.

Majority backing finally emerged for the European Parliament electing the Commission President, according to procedures to be specified in the final Communication, notably regarding the influence of political parties and the result of European elections, as well as the involvement of the European Council in the process. The involvement of the Council would continue since the Commission proposes that it should be placed under the dual responsibility of the European Parliament and the European Council, which would be reflected notably through a procedure of censure of the College shared by the two Institutions.

This dual responsibility stems notably from the wish reiterated by the Commission to integrate the High Representative into the College, though with a special status as the incumbent would also sit on the Council, perhaps even as President of...

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