The new European Commission has finally been given European Parliament clearance to begin work. Institutional infighting over political concessions and Lisbon ratification delayed this for almost four months, all the while the global economic storm raging.
The new Commission faces the task of steadying the EU ship. It is the first EU executive team to enter its five-year term of office (the second for its president, former Portuguese prime minister Jose Manuel Barroso) under the bloc’s Lisbon reform Treaty. The 27-member Commission is responsible for proposing and enforcing European Union laws.
Barroso has been handed a strong vote of political confidence by the Parliament. The Commission as a whole needed simple majority approval. That meant half plus one of the 736 MEPs. It got far more: 488 votes in favour, 137 against.
The centre right European People’s Party, Socialist and Liberal groups supported the new lineup. The Greens/European Free Alliance and United European Left and Nordic Green Left rejected it.
Not only within Europe will people be looking for renewed strength and clarity of direction from the Barroso II Commission; candidates for EU membership will as well.