Ever since Romano Prodi, president-designate of the European Commission, announced his choices for the new European Commissioners and the restructuring of the commission bureaucracy itself, EU-watchers have wondered what will happen to Union policies and programs affecting transport. Although Prodi said that this first set of changes are designed to address the charges of corruption and unresponsiveness that undermined his predecessor Jacques Santer, he also signaled his determination to follow this up with sweeping reforms over the longer term.
The new Prodi administration will have a new transport commissioner, because he has asked Neil Kinnock, who had been in that post, to take a new job as one of the two vice presidents. His new job will be to chart the overhaul of the Commission. Kinnock is to present a far-reaching blueprint for reform early in the year 2000. The other Vice President, Loyola de Palacio, a lawyer from Spain, will be in charge of Kinnock’s old department of transport, as well as relations with the European Parliament and energy.
Not much is known where either Prodi or Palacio stands on transport. Unlike Kinnock, she has little record on transport policies, whether in EU positions or in her home country. The new commissioners are expected to be approved by the European Parliament and assume their new offices this fall.