The upcoming snap general election in his native Portugal has brought criticism apon European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, from the European Parliament Socialists. He appeared on a television advert for his lagging centre-right party.On a question of neutrality, Commission spokeswoman Francoise le Bail said he was just exercising his rights as a citizen and politician.
“No one has ever recommended — either in EU treaty or the Commission’s code of conduct — that the commissioners or the president, who are after all politicians, be denied expression on political subjects outside the sphere of their immediate exercise of office.” Barroso’s predecessor, Romano Prodi of Italy, while in Brussels faced similar friction over his involvement in domestic politics. Portugal’s Social Democratic Party is trailing far behind the opposition Socialists in opinion polls. The vote is on Sunday.