A weaker mandate than his first could await Jose Manuel Barroso if he secures a fragile simple majority in the European Parliament vote for his bid to remain European Commission president.
A drawn-out period of uncertainty will end next Wednesday. The decision’s been taken to put his sole candidacy to a vote in the full assembly then. Parliament President Jerzy Buzek’s conservative EPP group, the largest, fully backs Barroso but other members are undecided or hostile. Buzek said: “I strongly believe that it will be support for Mr. President (Barroso), because we need strong support for a president of the European Commission, because we want to have a strong European Commission.” The Socialists and the main eurosceptic group have been blowing hot and cold, while the Greens and left groups have spoken out actively against confirming Barroso. Lothar Bisky of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left said: “It is the decision of the majority, and I told them that Barroso will get no vote from the leftists.” A move urged (by socialist and liberal abstentionists) to require a second ballot failed. Therefore Barroso could be voted in under the Nice Treaty in force, as the first time round in 2004. But suspense remains whether approval by only a narrow margin could raise the question again should the Lisbon Treaty enter force.