Jose Manuel Barroso may have the backing of Europe’s heavyweights to continue as Commission President, but France, at least, is expected to look for something in return.
Both the French and German leaders want Barroso to produce a formal policy programme ahead of a parliamentary vote on a second mandate. Analyst Marco Incerti of the Centre for European Policy Studies said: “I think it is always part of the political game, so there are a lot of negotiations taking place. Mr Sarkozy will no doubt want something in exchange for giving in on small legal details, so I think it may be a case of him raising the stakes so that he can get some concessions, maybe some portfolio which he is interested in for the French commissioner.” President Sarkozy has indicated France wants a senior commission post for Michel Barnier, the current French Agriculture Minister. French diplomatic sources Paris is eyeing the strategically important Internal Markets portfolio, presently being occupied by Ireland’s Charlie McCreevy. Sarkozy said he and Chancellor Merkel had agreed to back each other’s choices for jobs on the Commission.