Monday

22nd Oct 2018

Next commission set for human rights post

  • The liberals and the socialists will make a final decision on Mr Barroso next Tuesday (Photo: EUobserver)

The next European Commission is likely to have a commissioner responsible for fundamental rights and civil liberties, it emerged after negotiations between Jose Manuel Barroso and liberal deputies in the European Parliament.

Trying to drum up support for a second term as commission president, Mr Barroso has this week appeared before political groups in the parliament to discuss his policies for the next five years.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Summing up the meeting on Wednesday (9 September), liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt said the hearing had given rise to many "clarifications" after the group had been "unconvinced" by his proposed policies, published last week.

According to the Liberal, Mr Barroso, a centre-right politician, promised that he would "create a separate portfolio for fundamental rights and civil liberties."

Currently the commission has a justice, freedom and security commissioner, but critics have long argued that it is too broad to give enough attention to data protection issues as well as the pressing problem of immigration and the rights of migrants in member states - an issue that has come to the fore recently after Italy's controversial handling of Roma and immigrants from Africa.

A second post is expected to focus on interior security.

A single financial supervisor

Mr Barroso also committed to being more ambitious in tackling the aftermath of the economic crisis promising a review of the situation in three years time.

Mr Verhofstadt reported Mr Barroso as saying: "I shall then come forward with more ambitious ideas to create a European financial supervisor." The idea has been floated for several months but a recent commission-sponsored report on dealing with the economic crisis rejected the idea because it felt it would not be accepted by member states.

In addition, Mr Barroso also promised to have a "big fight" with member states on what is known in EU jargon as "own resources" or the creation of some sort of EU tax when the club's multi annual budget is next up for discussion.

Mr Verhofstadt, who along with the socialists was instrumental in postponing a planned July parliamentary vote on Mr Barroso in order to win policy concessions, indicated he was satisfied with the hearing.

He said the three issues were contained in the five-point list that the liberal group wanted from Mr Barroso.

No decision until Tuesday

However, the liberal chief said his group would not decide on whether to support Mr Barroso until he made the same three commitments before the entire plenary next Tuesday (15 September).

The decision means that both the liberals and the socialists, as third and second largest groups in the parliament respectively, will only make their positions on Barroso clear on Tuesday evening, just before the plenary vote, due on 16 September.

While he can count on the support of most the centre-right EPP deputies as well as those in the anti-federalist ECR group, Mr Barroso needs wider cross-party backing to secure the post. But as the ballot is secret and Mr Verhofstadt as well as the Socialists' Martin Schulz will have difficulty finding a unified group line on Mr Barroso - who remains a divisive figure for both political families - the result is likely to be close.

Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban

Germany has announced a unilateral arms ban on Saudi Arabia over its killing of a journalist, but France, the UK, and the US have not followed suit.

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Interview

Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit

Belgian Mischael Modrikamen is working with US strategist Steve Bannon to make the new hard-right grouping 'The Movement' go global. First step: a summit in January in Brussels, and high-level talks are underway, possibly with Brazil's far-right presidential contender.

Russian activist warns on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban
  2. Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar
  3. Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit
  4. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  5. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  6. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  7. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  8. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us