European Parliament members are not to be easily won over by Jose Manuel Barroso. His bid to stay on as Commission president has run into resistance from social democrats, greens and liberals. But senior Liberal Graham Watson finds the Portuguese former prime minister is not doing too badly.
Watson told Euronews: “I think Mr Barroso has rather cleverly touched, or stroked, the erogenous zones of all of the MEPs. He has clearly committed himself to a future based on environmental sustainability. He has said enough about social policy to satisfy the Socialists. And I think he has shown that he is a man with imagination and vision. And I would expect that MEPs would give him the benefit of the doubt and reinstate him.” The dominant group in the Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party are firmly behind Barroso. But what about the Socialists? Their Jo Leinen is far from convinced. Leinen said: “What I have seen is a pot-pourri of different topics, some are status quo. There are deficits clearly in the social agenda of his programme, not enough on services of public interest, too little about a programme for full employment in the EU, and we also lack a clause on social progress.” If Barroso manages to make up the difference, he would serve a total of ten years in the influential job.