Monday

29th Aug 2016

Barroso gets boost for a second term

  • Mr Barroso - heading for a second term? (Photo: European Commission)

One of the first reactions to Sunday's European Parliament elections came from the commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. He was closely following the outcome of the elections, which has a direct impact on his chances to secure a second term as head of the European Commission.

"From today onwards, Europe owes it to the voters to show once again that it can deliver", he said, referring to the fact that his commission has been sitting on its hands for the past year awaiting a new mandate.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Now the road is cleared for EU leaders to task the Portuguese centre-right politician to put a new commission together, when meeting in Brussels next week, 18-19 June.

Not only did his national Portuguese party do very well in the elections, the centre-right forces behind Mr Barroso were also the clear winners of the elections at the European level.

In addition the social democrat opposition, which could have challenged his candidature, came out as the losers and never managed to field a rival candidate.

Europeans turned largely to the centre-right parties in reaction to the economic crisis. Social Democrats were unable to persuade Europeans - under pressure from the economical crisis, unemployment and growing social problems – that they could provide the answers.

27 national elections

The overall result appears however to be more the sum of 27 national elections than that of a real European process. In many countries the poll turned out as a vote of confidence in the sitting national government.

The far-right did really well in some countries like the Netherlands and Austria; in Britain anti-immigrant British National Party got into the European Parliament for the first time, winning two seats. But at the same time Polish voters cleared the table and rejected the far-right.

The Greens have in general had very good elections, while the EU eurosceptics saw mixed results. The UK Independence Party (UKIP), advocating withdrawal from the EU, had its best elections ever scoring more seats than the ruling Labour party, while the Nordic countries ditched the centre-left critical Junemovements.

In Austria took Hans-Peter Martin, an independent campaigning on a transparency ticket, won three seats and came third in the elections. In total the EU critical front has become more rightist.

For Libertas, the new pan-European anti-Lisbon treaty party, the elections turned out to be a failure. The party leader Declan Ganley looks unlikely to win his own seat in the remote Irish North West constituency. His campaign was built on the most modern web- techniques but did not function in the Irish farmland, where politicians are still elected through door-to-door canvassing and direct personal contact.

If Mr Ganley is indeed gone, the second Lisbon Treaty referendum to be held in Ireland in October seems a much easier task for the yes-side. But the apple cart could still be upset by Britain if the ruling labour party of Gordon Brown falls and the opposition conservatives, under pressure from a stronger UKip, take over power before the Lisbon Treaty is approved.

Under the current treaty the European Parliament has influence, but not real power over European law-making. But individual MEPs are sometimes able to grasp real power over important pieces of legislations through personal influence, lobbying and networking.

This election brought a handful of such potential single-cause campaigners into the assembly, such as French investigating judge Eva Joly, who led the inquiry into the Elf oil scandal, as well as the radical sheep-farmer and anti-globalist José Bové and the Pirate Party leader from Sweden.

The turn-out set a new record with just 43,1 percent of the 375 million Europeans entitled to vote going to the polls.

This is the lowest ever since the first European Parliament direct elections in 1999, when 61.99% voted. And it comes despite the millions of tax-payers money spent on publicity campaigns.

Provisional results according to partial returns:

Party 2009 (2004)

European People's Party 263 (288)

European Socialist Group 161 (217)

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats 80 (100)

Group of the Greens/EFA 52 (43)

European United Left-NGL 33 (41)

Union for Europe of the Nations 35 (44)

Independence/Democracy Group 19 (22)

Others 93 (30)

Under-fire Merkel defends migration policy

The German chancellor sticks by her welcoming policy towards migrants, as a poll suggests more 50 percent of Germans do not want her to stand for a fourth term in office.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey