The EU member States agreed in principle when negotiating in 2000 ‘to reduce the size of the Commission once the Union reached 27 countries. This was in recognition of the reality that there would be insufficient portfolios to go around.’
But now, Commission president Manuel Barroso now says that he would personally support holding on to one commissioner per country, if that’s what it takes to get the treaty working.
What exactly these commissioners will do, no one is saying yet. No doubt they’ll think of something.
The Irish government identified three issues it needs to sort out before a second Lisbon vote: commissioners, abortion and neutrality.
So that’s one down.
Abortion isn’t really an issue. EU protocols already acknowledge Irish law in the area, so it’s a marketing issue. The substantive issue has been dealt with.
So that leaves neutrality.
The simple answer is a single line in the constitution, say along the lines of ‘The State shall not enter any military alliance without the consent of the people.’
My bet is, we won’t get that. Instead, there will be lots of noise about triple locks, and fudges on the differences between alliances, rapid response units, battlegroups and peacekeepers.