EurActiv reports that the mandate of the present European Commission will most likely be extended, to manage the outcome of the possible second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The idea is that should the Irish vote ‘yes’, EC will work to bring the Treaty of Lisbon into force, incorporating the ‘one commissioner per country’ concession granted to Ireland in December. Should the Irish vote ‘no’, the Nice Treaty will continue to apply, meaning that a new institutional arrangement will have to be found to satisfy the treaty’s rules on the make-up of the Commission.
This sounds simpler than it actually is. First, I really want to see the legal basis for the extension. Second, even if there is a legal extension of the Commission mandate, there will be too much uncertainty as to the outcome of the second Irish referendum. This is quite dangerous provided that the second referendum may again fail. Given the provisions in the Treaty of Nice, it will be really hard for the Commission to work out an institutional solution on short notice. We still cannot be certain of the fate of the ratification process in the Czech Republic and Germany.
That is why I think that talks about a possible solution under the rules of the Treaty of Nice should really start now.