The outgoing President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has been unanimously endorsed by the EU’s 27 leaders for a second term in the post.
Barroso spent the evening in Brussels laying out his plans for the next five years. He still requires the approval of the new European Parliament, but he is expected to win enough votes to be re-appointed. “What can I say to you, except that I am extremely proud of the unanimous support I received from heads of state and chiefs of governement of the European Union. More than proud, I am moved,” he said. Many leaders, even from his own centre-right political ground, had criticised him for reacting too slowly to the world financial crisis. But, whatever the rights and wrongs of that, Barroso represents stability, and the 27 place great store on that. The two-day summit is also looking at how to help secure a ‘yes’ vote in a re-run of Ireland’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Dublin is expected to win guarantees on matters such as abortion and military neutrality in return for campaigning for a positive result. The leaders have already agreed one other important point, the tightening of financial regulations and the creation of pan-European supervisory bodies to help prevent another global economic crisis.