Barroso is expected to win endorsement, but by what margin? Parliament members who are against him tried to delay the vote. One reason is it is being held under Nice Treaty rules, which become more demanding once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Greens, who oppose Barroso, said: “If he gets 320 votes, he’s far from an absolute majority and his legitimacy would be weakened. Everyone will say he pushed through his investiture under the Nice Treaty, because he knows he couldn’t get the 369 votes. But if he does he wins hands down, to put it simply.” The 369-vote mark clears the candidate under both treaties, and neutralises any calls for supplementary re-confirmation. One of Barroso’s fellow conservatives Jean-Luc Dehaene, defended his sole candidacy from any detractors: “The treaty says that the President of the European Commission is presented by the European Council and that the European Parliament approves or disapproves this. The treaty doesn’t say there must be two candidates.” There will be no political cooling off. Should Barroso get in, the attribution of portfolios to commissioners-designate could begin. Among these will be a powerful new foreign relations chief answerable both to the Commission president and the EU governments.