THE European Union needs to take a look at its nomenclature. An organisation with 27 members and almost as many languages naturally has difficulty in presenting an easily comprehensible account of itself to its citizens. How many people, for instance, can immediately distinguish between the powers and responsibilities of the European Commission, the EU Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament? The difficulty is compounded by the titles given to senior members of these bodies with presidents, commissioners and high representatives scattered all over the place. Unfortunately, the EU Reform Treaty does not address itself to reforms in names and titles that might make it easier for the EU citizen to understand who does what and why. In fact, the Treaty may make matters worse not better in one important respect by creating a second “president” to oversee the EU's business. The post itself is needed: someone to act as co-ordinator and progress-chaser of the ongoing work of the EU Council of ministers for a longer period of time than the six months that current “presidents” get as the job moves from country to country. But from 2009, if the Treaty is adopted, there will be two Presidents, one of the Council and one of the Commission. Surely one of them must give way in the interests of clarity and comprehension. But which? There's prestige and amour propre at stake.


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