Holidays over, Jose Manuel Barroso sets out to convince enough of the European Parliament’s members to accept his bid for a second five-year term at the head of the European Commission.
The Portuguese former prime minister this week mentioned informally the course of action he intends to submit next week. He said: “Unemployment is the most serious threat that we are facing in Europe: we need to get bank credit flowing again. We need to make sure that those banks receiving assistance will be viable once public support is withdrawn. We need to restore ethics in the way our market works, and we also need to restore growth and to reinforce the prospects for growth and social cohesion.” Barroso has the EU leaders’ approval, and that of the biggest group in the Parliament — the European People’s Party conservatives — but he needs to ensure support among the socialist and liberal democrat groups. The feeling in several formations in the assembly ranges from undecided to openly hostile, notably among the Greens. This is a new legislature, elected this past June, and both its fresh and veteran members are determined to be taken seriously. Procedural questions centred on full ratification of the EU’s Lisbon reform Treaty are also in play. The assembly’s group presidents will assess whether to put Barroso’s candidacy to a vote next month.