It is most important that we should concentrate upon the institutional powers, but the Minister has a total obsession with the Single European Act, and he continually refers back to it. However, we are patient, and we have a good sense of humour. As the Minister is about to retire from his present post, he will soon have other things to occupy him, so we can put up with him, at any rate for the time being.
The Commission is not simply a bureaucratic body, because the Commissioners are politicians. We have already seen the difficulties encountered by Mr. Ray MacSharry and Mr. Jacques Delors and other Commissioners when they put their national interests ahead of their commitment to the European Commission.
I understand that we are now to increase considerably the powers of the European Commission. The Minister and others claim that we are cutting back on those powers, but that is not my impression. The Commission's right of initiative is in no way altered under the treaty. The idea that the Commission will somehow exercise less power under the new arrangements than under the Single European Act is a complete illusion.