Interviews - Online

Post your questions for Vladimír Špidla

Vladimír ŠpidlaVladimír Špidla, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, will answer your questions online in the European chat TODAY at 2 p.m. You can start posting your questions concerning Czech EU Presidency several hours in advance. After the chat is closed, the most interesting questions and answers from both language versions will be published in the ’News and Documents’ section on The chat is conducted simultaneously in two language versions – in Czech for the local public and in English for readers abroad. Czech and English questions appear only in their respective language versions. To read all the questions, open both chat versions.

Questions and Answers

Andina, 2. 3. 2009, 12:38
Dear Mr Commissioner, if I understand it correctly, the Lisbon Treaty should decrease the number of Commissioners. So my question is - are some Commissioners redundant? If they are, why do we have so many Commissioners today? Which ones are redundant specifically? And if they are not redundant, why are we going to cancel their posts after Lisbon Treaty comes into force? Thank you.
responded to, 2. 3. 2009, 14:49
First, the number of commissioners is stipulated by the Treaty and the main principle of the Treaty from the beginning of the EU is that all member states are represented at the level of commissioners. The whole constitutional and institutional structure relies on the basis of this principle. If you look at the number of commissioners prior to the Enlargement, that is to say 15, there are many governments consisting of 15 members but you will also find governments of more than 15 members. As regards the way of creating portfolios of individual commissioners, there is no managerial or logical rule for that. This often depends on national tranditions. When the decision to enlarge the EU by new member states was made, the Nice Treaty determined that after the 2009 election there would be less commissioners than member states. This is only logical if you imagine that the EU is enlarged by the Balkan states, which would mean that there would be more than 30 commissioners. It is possible that we are approaching a very high number of commissioners but the final decision will depend on an agreement of member states and the outcome of the debate on the institutional arrangement. Originally, the proposal presented by the Lisbon Treaty assumed that the number of commissioners would be decreased to 2 thirds of the number of member states. But this debate has not yet ended. As regards the individual commissioners´ portfolios, these are constituted reasonably and have their content. To sum up, the overall outcome will be based on a general solution and not only on the evaluations of the individual portfolios.
Sercan, 2. 3. 2009, 11:43
What will be the improvements through processing of Turkey´s candidation?What is the aim of Czech Republic upon this?Thank you for your answer.
responded to, 2. 3. 2009, 14:18
The question about the aim of the Czech Republic should be addressed to the Czech Presidency. In general, the Czech policy favours Turkey´s joining the EU and the Presidency also supports that. Turkey´s accession will enlarge the area of stability in the region on a long-term basis. It will enlarge the internal market, in the situtation of demografic ageing this will provide the EU with a considerable number of educated people; geopolitically, this will facilitate a number of important strategic projects in particular in the supply of important strategic raw materials for the EU. But allow me to make a rather paradoxical comment, because Turkey already joined Europe in the 1920s in the times of Mustafa K. Atatürk, at that time the country adopted the Latin alphabet, a European style law-making system, and a constitution inspired by European models. They abolished the Khalifate. |In principle, to some extent the link between Turkey and Europe was then weakened. The accession of Turkey to the EU is not any special novelty. Turkey has already made that step and it is up to the Turks as well as us to finalize this.
Dan, 2. 3. 2009, 11:18
Dear Mr. Spidla: Do you agree with the eurosceptical position of Klaus towards the EU? Thank you for your answer.
responded to, 2. 3. 2009, 14:06
I have listened to President Klaus´ speech in the European Parliament. I disagree with his evaluation of the EU. His view relies on a severe misunderstanding of principles of the EU, and on his attempt to see an analogy between the EU and COMECON. This analogy is not truthtful. Just a simple example for many: no-one joined COMECON voluntarily. It speaks for itself.
Marianne Slegers, Europolitics, 2. 3. 2009, 10:08
Will the Commission make guidelines on how the member states should react to the problems with the pension funds which are endangered because of the financial crisis? Do you think this should be coordinated at an EU level?
responded to, 2. 3. 2009, 14:01
The present Treaty does not give the Commission any possibility to harmonise pension systems. There is some coordination of pension systems, in particular for preserving pension claims of migrant workers. I think pension funds and pension schemes in general are a very important system and that is why it is good that this is discussed at the EU level.
Marianne Slegers, Europolitics, 2. 3. 2009, 10:06
What is your message/ advice for the people in the EU who have lost their job/ are about to loose their job because of the crisis? What would be the best thing for them to do? Merci pour votre response, Marianne
responded to, 2. 3. 2009, 13:58
The loss of a job is a highly individual thing and so it is difficult to give advice. But the only thing that is certain is that it is good to be active from the first moment. Not to stay at home, use every opportunity for re-skilling if necessary, consider jobs that would otherwise be quite unusual or would not be considered. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who have lost their job will find a new one after some time. But I know it is never easy. To look for a new job is a hard full-time job.

Discussion has ended.