Thursday

28th Jul 2016

Socialists warn EU leaders to respect parliament on Barroso issue

  • EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on 18-19 June (Photo: © European Communities)

The European Socialists have warned EU leaders meeting next week in Brussels not to disrespect the European Parliament by formally agreeing to appoint commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term in office.

Following a meeting on Friday (12 June ) of representatives from national delegations to discuss the beating that the left took in last week's European elections, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, head of the European socialists, said their main message was to "be careful."

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.

"Don't make any decisions of a binding character as far as the president of the commission is concerned."

He pointed out that the parliament as a whole on 7 May agreed that the next commission president should be appointed under the Lisbon Treaty - yet to be approved throughout the EU.

Mr Rasmussen warned that the majority of votes needed on the 14 July "will not be that automatically obtained in such a combative atmosphere."

He noted that if EU leaders plough ahead with their decision they will have done so before consulting with the parliament. Discussions with political leaders in the EU assembly will only begin in the week after the summit.

The socialists, who have been engaged in serious soul-searching for failing to appeal to voters despite the economic crisis, have since been buoyed by the news that Italy's Democratic Party (DP) has joined their ranks.

This swells their numbers by 21 deputies to 182, second to the centre-right EPP's 264.

Empty threat?

However Mr Rasmussen's threat rang hollow when he admitted that he was not sure what the socialists would do if EU leaders ignored their warning and went ahead and gave Mr Barroso formal approval for a second term in office.

He said this still had to be "discussed."

In addition, while saying that the socialists "cannot support [Mr] Barroso," the party still has no alternative candidate of their own.

"We are simply not there yet," admitted the Dane, who was once rumoured to be seeking the job himself.

The socialists' lack of a candidate is seen both as a result of internal divisions as well as reluctance to stand when a centre-right candidate is highly likely to get the job.

The centre-right overwhelmingly won the EU elections and EU leaders are generally expected to choose the person in light of this result.

Barroso

Mr Barroso, who has long been thought of a virtual shoo-in for the job now has to contend with Germany and France only wanting to give him political, rather than formal, backing for the post and a restive parliament.

Paris and Berlin, as well as the socialists, are keen to wait for the Irish to vote in October and possibly agree to the Lisbon Treaty.

Their motives are different however. Paris and Berlin want to have leverage with Mr Barroso over the future portfolios for their new commissioners.

Meanwhile, the later reappointment of Mr Barroso could allow leftish or anti-Barroso MEPs to come up with an alternative candidate.

The later timetable would leave Mr Barroso in uncertain waters for several months as he waits to see if he gets the mandate to lead the EU executive until 2014.

A delay could lessen his chances of being re-elected as other posts may also be up for grabs.

The commission president has an ally in Sweden though. Stockholm wants full formal approval given next week so it can work with an un-distracted commission president on the important issues of its presidency, starting 1 July.

Opinion

EU political pressure alone cannot save the rule of law

The situation in Poland shows that democracy, the rule of law and human rights do not speak for themselves. If the Union wants to safeguard its fundamental values, it must create support for them among Europeans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform
  2. GoogleHelping Emergency Services Find You When You Need It Most
  3. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  5. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  6. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  7. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  10. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  11. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  12. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company