Tuesday

18th Feb 2020

Centre-right leaders 'informally' back Barroso for second term

  • EPP leaders "informally" agreed to back Jose Manuel Barroso for a second mandate as Commission president (Photo: Sandrine Muscarella)

Conservative EU leaders gathered in Brussels ahead of an EU summit "informally" proposed Jose Manuel Barroso for a second mandate as president of the European Commission, with a final agreement to be taken in at the end of the year.

"There was no official proposal, just an informal discussion. The decision will be taken at the next EPP summit in December," Javier Jimenez, press officer for the center-right European People's Party (EPP), told EUobserver.

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"[Talks] seem to go in that direction," European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering, himself a former chairman of the EPP group, told a press conference.

"Not only did I support Mr Barroso, but I ensured that he was our candidate and I will continue to support him," he said, referring to the time when he chaired the EPP group in the European Parliament.

The remarks come on top of reports by German press agency DPA earlier in the day, citing vice-chairman of the EPP and state secretary in the German finance ministry, Peter Hintze.

"Barroso stands for continuity and the cohesion of Europe. And this is what the EU needs in the coming years," Mr Hintze said.

A former prime minister of Portugal, the 52-year-old Mr Barroso assumed the presidency of the European Commission in 2004. His current mandate is due to expire in the second half of 2009.

While conservative governments outnumber social-democratic ones in Europe, Mr Barroso will still need the backing of all the other member countries, which decide the nomination by qualified majority. The European Parliament then rubber stamps the appointment.

The Commission head in July told Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad he is interested in keeping the job. "If today I had to decide about a second term, my answer would be 'yes'," he said.

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