Could Dalli’s case threaten the European Commission?

Unlikely. The Health Commissioner John Dalli resigned or it seems he was forced to resign over  alleged corruption.

Question:

Would you say that this resignation because of the alleged corruption may have the lasting negative impact on the European Commission or on the contrary as Dalli was willing or forced to resign quickly?

Answers:

Christian Kaunert, Senior Lecturer in International Relations & Politics, University of Dundee

I don’t think the resignation will have a lasting impact on the image of the Commission. The resignation occurred very quickly without too much media coverage. It also brings home the point that EU politics is becoming more similar to domestic politics than before. In the past, these scandals had the potential to bring down the entire Commission, like with the Santer Commission. However, with a strengthened individual responsibility of Commissioners, this is much less of an institutional problem. In fact, it can even enhance the position of President Barrosso because this was handled so quickly and efficiently.

Christoph Meyer, Professor of European & International Politics, King’s College London

I think it is positive that he resigned before there was much media coverage. The question is whether there will be further stories about other commissioners as there were in 1999 no doubt some will start digging now, particularly in UK europhobe press. All of this tends to miss the big scandals though about how Greece was allowed to enter the EU for instance.

Anthony ZitoReader in Politics, School of GPS, Newcastle University

I do not see much evidence that Dalli’s resignation will have a lasting impact on the Commission. There are a number of reasons for this.  First and foremost, this resignation will have low visibility outside the Brussels insider network and Malta. There is a low  regional media focus on the EU that will continue to keep its focus on the wider global and regional economic crisis. Dalli was the Commissioner selected from Malta to a relatively low visibility portfolio in a College of Commissioners that is much less notable than those leading the Commission in the 1980s and 1990s. This resignation happened quickly, and follows older allegations of corruption at the domestic level. The 1999 resignation of the Santer College has had lasting impact on the Commission, but this will not.

Simon Usherwood, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, University of Surrey

My impression is that this will not have a big impact on anything, either positive or negative. The reason is simply that Dalli is not a big name player, nor he is from a large member state, nor does he have a vital portfolio, so the consequences of this will be very limited. Certainly, it is impressive that he hasn’t hung on to his post, but has stepped down, which strengthens the credibility of the OLAF process. At the same time, it will just confirm sceptic’s fears about what the Commission does and how it does it.

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