Barroso reconfirmed as head of the European Commission

, by Michele Gruberio, Translated by Elena Montani

All the versions of this article: [English] [italiano]

Barroso reconfirmed as head of the European Commission

On September 16th the new elected European Parliament has given its vote of confidence to the “new” President of the European Commission: Manuel José Barroso.

The scrutiny is secret, what we can do here is to list the ballot declarations of the European Parliament’s groups.

In favour: European Popular Party, Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Abstentions: Socialist Groups

Aganist: Greens, GUE – Group of the European United Left

We do not have precise news of EFD (Europe of Freedom and Democracy) and of the not enrolled ones. The final official votes are the following: 382 ballots in favour, 219 against and 117 abstentions.

If the Lisbon Treaty had been into force, the President of the European Commission would have been elected on the basis of the result of the elections of the European Parliament, and the mandate could have been given to an exponent of the party or coalition that had obtained the biggest number of votes. But we are not there yet. Barroso fills the necessary conditions for his election, but not the sufficient ones.

Not sufficient because the reality behind his election could have generated a real political crash. A true political debate on such an important political mandate should involve at least two big personalities challenging each other, representatives of different political and popular souls. But this has not been the case. Perhaps Andrea Bonanni, Italian editorialist, is right when, in the aftermath of the European elections, has recognized the birth of the European people on the base of the rather homogeneous choice of the citizens of the continent, who had widely expressed themselves in favour of the European Popular Party. But we cannot however forget that confrontation is the real base of the evolution of every modern democracy.

A true political debate on such an important political mandate should involve at least two big personalities challenging each other.

Barroso was the only candidate, undisputed, to the Presidency of the European Commission, and this is a pity. Without putting into question the basic principles of democracy in the auspice of a illuminated tyrant (sovereign), Barroso surely holds the record of political inaction, being he the initiator and leader of the period of reflection that followed the failure of the European Constitutional Treaty - “the Constitution is dead” declared, and it was only the day that followed the French and Dutch referenda. The European governments like him for this reason: he does not question their authority.

Europe needs a Constitution, and a real political unity. Even in the case that the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified, we cannot wait anymore for proceeding on the way of the European integration. The pressure of the European federalists to the European political parties for presenting their own candidate to the Presidency of the Commission have not been sufficient. Schultz has taken the time to answer personally to Asa Gunven (UEF) – in a unconvincing way - when she asked him why the Socialists were not running their candidate. Also the Greens’ and European Left’s request to nominate a socialist candidate has not been heard with success.

When entering the EP plenary just after the ballot for the Presidency, Barroso has thanked the European Parliament, stating that the EP “has supported his ambitious program.” But the truth is different and, unless Barroso does not refute what has been his political career in the last 5 years, it is hard not to worry. The political Europe is distant. The European Federation even more. Paolo Acunzo (Vice - secretary MFE) is right when he declares: “What can we expect from European parties which are not truly European? What can we expect from national parties which, during the campaign for the seventh European legislature talk about everything but Europe?”

The treaties foresee that the European Council holds the leading role for boosting the European integration. We shall than wait and see, in the case the Lisbon Treaty will enter into force, how the election of the President of the European Council will go.

Image: MEPs approve Barroso as Commission President, ©European Parliament/Pietro Naj-Oleari, source:

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