Saturday

28th Jan 2023

Barroso could be voted down by MEPs on procedural grounds

  • The European Parliament will meet in mid-July for its constitutive session (Photo: EUobserver)

Any attempt by EU leaders this week to formally nominate Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as European Commission will come a cropper in the European Parliament on procedural grounds, a senior MEP warned on Tuesday (16 June).

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, head of the Greens faction, said he believed there was a "sufficient majority" in the EU assembly to block Mr Barroso when the issue goes to vote in mid-July.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"If we are to vote in July, then the debate will be on procedure," he said, adding that an alliance of "Liberal Democrats, Greens, Socialists and the far left" would be enough.

Parliament is up in arms because a decision this week by EU leaders to formally back Mr Barroso would fall under the current Nice Treaty rules, whereas it voted in May by overwhelming majority to try and appoint the commission president under the terms of the yet-to-be-ratified Lisbon Treaty.

The fate of the Lisbon Treaty is set to become clearer in October, when Ireland votes on it in a referendum. All other member states have completed parliamentary ratification.

"If the Council decides under the Treaty of Nice to formally decide to nominate Barroso, then the Council on 17 July risks finding itself with a negative vote, not on Barroso, but on procedure," said Mr Cohn-Bendit.

He indicated that if the parliament did not stand up for itself now, then it would be downtrodden by member states and the commission for its whole five-year mandate.

His warning comes just days after that of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, head of the European Socialists, who also warned EU leaders to "be careful" and to "respect" the parliament.

Mr Cohn-Bendit dismissed arguments that not giving a clear signal on a possible second mandate would give a lameduck feel to the remaining months of the current commission, due to finish in October.

However, the Green MEP, a fierce critic of Mr Barroso, admitted that by September some new names might have emerged.

He said he had a few ideas for candidates himself – alluding to both Mr Rasmussen and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt – but said it was too early to reveal them.

"If we put the names into the ring now we'll blow them out of the water."

The issue is shaping up to be a real political tussle among member states themselves and with the parliament.

Incoming EU presidency Sweden says it wants full formal backing for Mr Barroso so it has a real partner to work with on major issues such as climate change when it takes over on 1 July.

But Germany and France are reluctant to do this so they continue to have leverage over Mr Barroso when it comes to choosing portfolios for their future commissioners as well as over any plans he has for the commission's five year programme.

The issue will be played out at the two-day council in Brussels, beginning Thursday. In the face of strong opposition from the parliament, EU leaders are set to give Mr Barroso only political backing at the summit. They are then due to consult political leaders in the parliament next week.

The question is whether there will still be an attempt to give Mr Barroso legal certainty in July after the concerns of different factions in the parliament have been taken into account.

For his part Mr Barroso has urged to EU leaders to take a decision on the issue at the summit. He is due to reveal some of his ideas on a commission programme to the summit on Thursday.

Opinion

Greece's spy scandal must shake us out of complacency

The director of Amnesty International Greece on the political spying scandal that now threatens to bring down prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Activists and NGO staff work with the constant fear that they are being spied on.

Latest News

  1. Pressure mounts on EU to coordinate visas for Russian rights-defenders
  2. Dutch set to agree to US-led chip controls to China
  3. No record of Latvian MEP's 'official' Azerbaijan trip
  4. Why the new ECHR Ukraine-Russia ruling matters
  5. Europe continues to finance Russia's war in Ukraine with lucrative fossil fuel trades
  6. Official: EU parliament's weak internal rule-making body leads to 'culture of impunity'
  7. Red tape border logjam for EU's 1.3m 'frontier workers'
  8. Greece's spy scandal must shake us out of complacency

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  2. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  3. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  4. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  2. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  3. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  5. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  6. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us