The EU parliament looks set to reject the new EU commission after incoming president Jose Manuel Barroso refused to make concessions. The main sticking point is controversial Italian conservative Rocco Buttiglione whom Barroso has put forward as justice and home affairs commissioner. Centrist and left-wing MEP’s want him stripped of the portfolio, but Barroso is standing firm, arguing that reshuffling the team would cause more problems than it would solve.
The European Parliament cannot veto any individual commissioner – it can only accept or reject Barroso’s team as a whole. The Socialist group, the second biggest in the assembly, has unanimously decided to vote against it, as have the Liberals. Chairman Graham Watson said: “The group has decided by a majority of 2/3 to 1/3 to vote against the commission. I’m not sure what the discussions have been in the other groups and what their decision has been, but it would look to me unlikely that the commission will be approved.”Buttiglione, a staunch Roman Catholic with ties to Pope John Paul, sparked fury earlier this month when he described homosexuality as a sin and said the aim of marriage was to procreate. Rumours of his possible resignation have been denied.