Not quite, and it’s pretty close, but still… As I noted the other day, there was a fair amount of opposition already, but it still didn’t look like anyone would seriously oppose Rocco Buttiglione’s appointment as such a move could severely damage the EU’s public face just as a sizable number of member states are beginning to think seriously about referenda over the proposed constitution.
This is cutting it a bit fine and, even if the Civil Liberties Committee is more of an advisory panel than anything else, could yet cause problems. Nonetheless, starting out on such a controversial note is – fairly obviously – not a good thing. Could this further damage the European Commission’s already somewhat dubious reputation? Is that even possible?
Or could it actually have a benefit for the EU? The recent talks with Turkey, combined with a condemnation of traditionalist Catholicism, could go some way to destroying the boring old “EU = Popish Plot” arguments. Is it worth vetoing the new Commission to get across the message that the EU is a secular organisation? I’m moderately tempted to say yes. As we’ve all surely noticed over the last three years… It would be nice if Europe could avoid going the way of the Taliban and the Bush government, it must be said.
Tuesday Update: The Italian reaction