By Neill Nugent
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Additional info for At the Heart of the Union: Studies of the European Commission
The allocation of Commissioners between nationalities was made clearer, ensuring that there was an explicit balance. In the case of Euratom, it was clearly not possible for every nationality to be represented since there were only five Commissioners. Luxembourg lost out, but because of this the Luxembourg Government appointed a permanent representative to the Euratom Commission with a watching brief (Euratom, 1958). In the case of the EEC, the informal national allocation formula which became conventional was clearly established from the start.
In many cases of failure to renominate, it is not clear which factors are decisive, or indeed whether the publicly stated reasons are the genuine ones. With the exception of genuine health problems, the other cases may indicate limited autonomy from national government. Some appointments are clearly stop-gap nominations. Carrelli and Guazzaroni (Italy), and Bodson (Luxembourg), were all examples of nominees aged in their sixties who served very short periods to fill a gap. Malfatti (an Italian EC Commission President) and O'Kennedy (Ireland) are examples of a substantial number who served short terms in the Commission before losing interest and returning to national politics.
While the figures may be subject to some distortion through retirements caused by ill health or death, particularly for the smaller countries/~ they demonstrate the considerable variation among Commissioners as a body, and also between European Commissioners, 1952-95 35 countries. The individual record for the number of terms is held by the German trade union official Wilhelm Haferkamp, who served through five Colleges from 1967 to 1984. But the absolute record in years belongs to the Belgian Albert Coppe, who served continuously for over twenty years from the creation of the High Authority in 1952 to the end of the Malfatti Commission in 1972.
At the Heart of the Union: Studies of the European Commission by Neill Nugent