22nd Oct 2018

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.

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.


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.


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