Tuesday

23rd May 2017

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)

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

EU wary over Ukraine weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus