This is the week Jose Manuel Barroso’s European Commission presidency is put to a vote in the European Parliament. The full assembly sitting is just getting under way in Strasbourg. This Tuesday the one and only candidate presents his plan to all the members. He was the only candidate in 2004 also. On Wednesday they will decide whether to endorse a second five-year mandate.
He needs a simple majority — half plus one. There are 736 MEPs, and Barroso’s allies, his own political family, the European People’s Party centre-right group, occupy 265 seats in the assembly. Members in diverse other groups have let on they will back him too. The vote is by secret ballot. No other political group has put forward a candidate, but if Barroso doesn’t win by a sufficient margin, it could place his authority in doubt.