There was little hiding Jose Manuel Barroso’s emotion after the EU leaders spoke with one voice to endorse him for the Commission’s presidency again. But before re-takes his post, he will have to pass muster at the new European Parliament.
Barroso told euronews: “I am confident in the vote. We’ve got very strong support at the heart of the European Parliament. Five years ago we also got their support and I don’t see why we shouldn’t have it again. Moreover, there’s the unanimous backing of heads of state and governments who represent all the main political groups – i really want to say, it’s very very important – these are also heads of parties – Socialists, Christian Democrats and Liberals.” And though his allies on the centre-right won decisively in the European Parliament elections earlier this month, Barroso’s opponents say his appointment is not a done deal. President of the European Socialist Party, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said: “The European Parliament is not just a rubberstamp for the council. It is an elected parliament, on exactly the same basis as national parliaments. So you can’t have a situation where the council is saying ‘You take Barroso’ and you just say ‘Yes Sir, no Sir’. We need proper consultations and that’s what we claim.” Officials from the European Council’s rotating presidency will now sound out the Parliament on Barroso’s candidacy. If they are satisfied he can secure a majority, leaders of member states will give him a formal endorsement, meaning MEPs could make their vote in mid-July.