17th Jan 2019

Commission president vote confirmed for next week

  • Jose Manuel Barroso will present his policy programme to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (Photo: European Commission)

Jose Manuel Barroso came a step closer to being elected European Commission president for a second time when political leaders in the parliament on Thursday (10 September) agreed to hold the vote next week.

The decision, coming after weeks of delay was opposed by the Socialists and the Greens, but backed by centre-right, Liberal and eurosceptic MEPs.

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

The vote will take place on 16 September and Mr Barroso is expected to win the simple majority needed for a second five years at the helm.

But the Socialists, who have been fighting a rear-guard action to make sure they are not sidelined in the next European Commission since their poor showing at the June European election, urged him to look for broader political backing, including from the left.

This, they say, would ensure him a political clout-winning 369 votes, or an absolute majority in the 736-strong parliament.

Admitting that his group is "not in a very strong" negotiating position, Socialist leader Martin Schulz nevertheless called on Mr Barroso not just to rely on "anti-Europeans" to secure the vote.

"I understood Mr Barroso as saying he is trying to get a majority for himself and for his commission that is not based on votes from the Kaczynskis and the Tories," said Mr Schulz in reference to the Polish and British parties that are the backbone of the anti-federalist European Conservatives and Reformists group.

Mr Schulz said he would try to get his group to support Mr Barroso - a decision it will take on the eve of next Wednesday's vote - in return for the commission president agreeing to a list of conditions, including a "social impact assessment" on commission policies and giving the EU foreign policy post to a Socialist.

Nice or Lisbon

With the Barroso vote taking place next week, discussion is opening up about how to appoint the entire next commission, whose mandate expires at the end of October.

As delays to final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's new set of institutional rules, look likely in the Czech Republic, even if there is a Yes in Ireland's Lisbon vote on 2 October, politicians have been discussing whether the next commission should be appointed under the current Nice Treaty.

However, the Nice Treaty says there should be fewer commissioners than member states from 2009, without going into details.

One suggestion to get around this is that the country getting the EU foreign policy post does not win a commissioner.

This would be in keeping the Nice Treaty but would also suit the Lisbon Treaty if it comes into force. Under Lisbon rules, the EU foreign policy representative is also vice-president of the commission and member states have agreed that each country should retain its one commissioner if Lisbon comes into place.

German spies to monitor far-right AfD party

Germany's domestic spy agency, the BfV, is to start monitoring the far-right AfD party in a move endorsed by the government, but decried as a witch-hunt by the party's leaders.


On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?

If the European parliament votes in favour of the new Morocco agreement without knowing that it complies with the European Court of Justice judgement, how can it demand that other countries respect international law and their own courts?

News in Brief

  1. Another referendum 'would take a year', Downing St says
  2. 82-year old Berlusconi to run in EU elections
  3. EU parliament votes to triple funds for democracy promotion
  4. EU parliament backs linking budget payments to rule of law
  5. Verhofstadt voted for Draghi amendment 'by mistake'
  6. 'Plan B' Brexit vote in UK parliament set for 29 January
  7. Verhofstadt wanted Draghi out of G30 group
  8. Putin heads to Serbia amid warnings against West

Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret

A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.


On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?

If the European parliament votes in favour of the new Morocco agreement without knowing that it complies with the European Court of Justice judgement, how can it demand that other countries respect international law and their own courts?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  2. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  3. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  4. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  5. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  6. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  7. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  8. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us