Presumably a bit wounded by the defeat of the left in the recent Italian elections, and the fact that he had to see Berlusconi-ally Franco Frattini strutting his stuff as EU Justice & Home Affairs Commissioner for 2 years, Romano Prodi seems to playing one final card – to stitch up Frattini’s replacement in the European Commission for the left. Have a read of this article from Euractiv. It’s rather complex but fascinating to follow and – interestingly – the final determining factor will be Barroso’s decision. Does he allow all the speculation about Frattini to fester, or wrap it up quickly but with a nominee from Prodi? I suspect all of this will end up with some measly compromise, but it’s pleasant to hope it might work out otherwise.
[UPDATE – 24.4.08]
According to Mark Mardell the scheming is even more complex – with Jacques Barrot having been moved from transport to justice and home affairs in the Commission as Barroso gets tired of Berlusconi’s dithering. Mardell even thinks there’s a prospect that Berlusconi would nominate Rocco Buttiglione once more. Cannot surely be true? Does Berlusconi, back for his third term as PM, think he’s so full of himself that he could poke fun at the EU institutions in that way?