MEPs to vote on Barroso in September
15.07.09 @ 14:41
BRUSSELS - Political group leaders in the European Parliament are on Thursday set to decide to put a vote on Jose Manuel Barroso's bid for a second term as European commission president on September's plenary agenda.
The move follows a gentleman's agreement between the three biggest groups in the parliament, the centre-right EPP, the Socialists and the Liberals.
"Tomorrow we will set the date for a vote in September," said Joseph Daul, head of the EPP, on Wednesday (15 July), whose group is the key supporter of Mr Barroso.
Mr Daul also sought to reassure the Portuguese politician that the political group still fully supports him as debate within parliament's walls about his candidacy is getting increasingly strident.
"Our candidate is Mr Barroso. We stick by him through thick and thin."
But while the EPP may have succeeded in getting the vote on the agenda of the plenary session amid fears that it could have been delayed further - other groups are keen to stress that this does not mean Mr Barroso is in the clear.
The socialists, looking for plum portfolios in the next commission, published an 11-point plan earlier this week and stressed that Mr Barroso's programme for the next five years must reflect this. A recovery plan for Europe, a social progress pact and a new legal framework clarifying the status of public services feature among their demands.
The Liberals have five demands that they want to see in his programme including future initiatives on a single European recovery plan, a single European financial supervisor and moves towards a European tax.
Writing ‘political guidelines'
The ball is now in Mr Barroso's court. He has been asked to publish a written programme by the beginning of September. Shortly afterwards he will meet each of the seven political groups in the parliament.
On the basis of these meetings and his programme, the groups will decide whether to support him or not.
For his part, Mr Barroso said he "very much welcomed all suggestions" made by the groups, adding that he is currently working on "political guidelines for the next commission."
The Socialists, Liberals, Greens and far-left are in the 'unsure' or 'downright against' Mr Barroso camp.
On Tuesday, Socialist chief Martin Schulz in reference to the September vote said: "I am really not sure he will gain a majority." A simple majority of those present in the chamber is needed to secure the post.
The debate surrounding Mr Barroso has started to take on a personal note among the Socialists and the Greens.
"He is not up to the job either politically or in terms of his programme," said Mr Schulz on Tuesday while Daniel Cohn-Bendit, head of the greens, said that as Mr Barroso "gets on well with all the governments" he could be their "maitre'd" as president of the union, a job created by the Lisbon Treaty.
The Liberals, for their part, insist that it is not a "question of personalities" but about a "programme."