Sunday

19th Feb 2017

Barroso admits he wants to be EU commission president for a second time

  • "I will see whether the conditions are right to continue. And whether the Europeans want me" (Photo: EUobserver)

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has for the first time publicly admitted he wants a second term as head of the EU executive.

In an interview with Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad on Saturday (19 July), he said he feels "honoured and privileged" to serve as commission president.

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.

"If today I had to decide about a second term, my answer would be 'yes'. Provided of course that I have the support of member states and the European Parliament. I have not said that before", he indicated.

He said however that it is "too early" to take a final decision on his candidacy since the appointment of a new commission president is only scheduled to take place after the June 2009 European Parliament elections.

"One year is an eternity in politics," noted Mr Barroso. "If I say it is too early now, then that is not some kind of political remark. I'm really serious about that. People say we are bureaucrats. I'm not a bureaucrat or some kind of technocrat, I'm a democrat. In June or July, when the decision has to be taken, I will see whether the conditions are right to continue [as commission president]. And whether the Europeans want me [to continue]"

Mr Barroso's public admission of his long-rumoured wish to have a shot at the five-year post comes shortly after both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berluconi said they would back him.

The decision on the presidency of the commission is taken by EU leaders normally after strong haggling behind closed doors on which all sorts of quid pro quos are worked out.

But it is expected that it will reflect the outcome of the European elections meaning that the centre-right European People's Party – to which Mr Barroso belongs - will have to maintain its dominance after the poll.

The Lisbon Treaty, which has been rejected by Ireland, but which Germany and France are still keen to see come into force, contains an article on the commission president being chosen in light of the European elections.

MEPs are keen to see this followed whether or not the treaty is in place as way of getting citizens more ownership over the elections which have in recent years been marked by voter apathy – a principle that Mr Barroso has now also indicated he is willing to see followed.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

EU leaders to discuss migration, in Trump's shadow

New US president Trump overshadows the Malta summit of EU leaders on Friday, as they discuss the bloc's future amid new geopolitical realities, and step up efforts to stop migration via Libya from North African countries.

EU leaders must stand up to Trump, say MEPs

MEPs have urged the EU to stand up for European values, starting with rejecting Trump's presumed choice for US ambassador, who has stated that he wants to "tame" the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta
  2. Spain's princess fined for tax fraud, husband sentenced
  3. EU to invest millions in energy infrastructure
  4. Dutch data watchdog forces online vote aides to up security
  5. EU allows Lithuania to ban Russian tv channel
  6. Finland announces increase in defence spending
  7. Ex-PM Blair says Brits should 'rise up' against Brexit
  8. Nato chief says facts to prevail over fake news

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty