The new European Parliament’s group heads have made the customary trip to the EU’s presiding nation, which is Sweden for the second half of this year. In Stockholm, one of the main topics with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his team was the parliament’s vote on whether to endorse Jose Manuel Barroso for a second run as European Commission President.
The outgoing Parliament President downplayed the recent deferral of this vote. Hans Gert Poettering said: “The political parties and the political groups have the right to see things today differently than yesterday. My personal opinion has always been that the president of the Commission should be elected in July, and I express my expectation that the election is possible in September. This is a majority (opinion) in the Parliament as well at this stage.” All the EU leaders have backed Barroso’s candidacy but he also needs the Parliament’s approval. His conservative allies are the strongest force there but not quite strong enough to confirm him on their own. Poettering said even a September vote is not guaranteed, as the groups want to discuss Barroso’s programme with him before voting.