Jose Manuel Barroso pushes on with his campaign to get the backing of the European Parliament’s main political groups to work a second five-year term as European Commission President.
So far, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), has confirmed its support. Next he faces meetings with the harder-to-convince left groups, the greens and liberals. With his EPP supporters, Barroso said: “My role here is not just to accommodate one political group but to try to bridge some differences and to build a strong European consensus.” Based on the parliament members’ impressions, an approval could be put to a vote next week. Barroso needs a simple majority in the assembly. MEP Derk Jan Eppink, with the European Conservatives and Reformists, has written about many turns in the European plot. He suggests it is getting livelier. Eppink said: “Europe used to be an issue, a matter of unknown personalities and bureaucrats, and now it (this debate) is giving Europe a face. Now the question is: do we want Mr. Barroso or do we want somebody else? Do we have a better candidate or do we not have a better candidate? And that’s also a struggle about the direction Europe has to take. Does it have to go to the left more, or does it have to the right or centre right? What is going to be the balance of our political wishes? And I think that it is the first time that this fight about who is going to lead Europe is at centre stage, and that is very good for Europe, because we have to bring some theatre to the European political debate, and that’s what we are getting.” The Socialists and Democrats, the parliament’s second-largest group after the centre-right EPP, and the liberals are undecided about Barroso, while the Greens and left groups have spoken out against him. He winds up the meetings this Wednesday.