7th May 2021

Centre-right backs Barroso for second term

Centre-right politicians in the European Union have backed Jose Manuel Barroso to have a second five-year term as head of the European Commission.

A gathering of the European People's Party (EPP), home to both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy's political parties, on Thursday (19 March) agreed to give its political blessing to the Portuguese politician, who has often indicated his interest in a second term.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mr Barroso - all set for a second term? (Photo: ec.europa)

"[Mr] Barroso has a broad appeal in all the main political families and is by far the best candidate for this position taking into account his successful term as Commission President and his wide political experience at the national level", said the President of the EPP, Wilfried Martens.

The EPP, currently the biggest political family in Europe, said that if it maintains its dominance after the June EU elections, then the commission president should continue to be a centre-right politician.

The commission president is chosen by member states, usually a strife-torn process carried out behind closed doors.

At the end of last year, EU leaders agreed they would decide on the next commission president at their June summit, shortly after the European elections.

For long, Mr Barroso's second term seemed almost a given - he has also received the backing of the UK's centre-left Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

However, French President Nicolas Sarkozy cast doubt on Mr Barroso's chances by refusing to fully endorse him earlier this month, in contrast to previous public backing. He also suggested the commission president should only be decided upon after Ireland re-votes on the Lisbon treaty, set for the autumn.

The u-turn is thought to have come about due to Paris' dissatisfaction at the way the commission is dealing with the current economic crisis.

Neither Mr Sarkozy or French Prime Minister Francois Fillon attended the EPP meeting on Thursday.

For its part, the European Parliament said it is in favour of EU leaders choosing the president in June so it can vote on the nominee in mid July.

"What counts is that we hold elections on 15 July and that the president reflects the results of the parliamentary elections. Mr Barroso has done a good job," said parliament chief Hans-Gert Poettering on Thursday.

The commission's current term formally expires at the end of October.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.


Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

News in Brief

  1. Israel study: Two Pfizer doses give over 95% protection
  2. Barnier calls Johnson a 'bulldozer' in Brexit memoirs
  3. Hungary and Poland prevent 'gender' in summit declaration
  4. Draghi: Italy to welcome foreign tourists from mid-May
  5. Germany announces new, stricter, emission cuts
  6. Channel Islands 'blockade' threat in UK and France row
  7. French reporter kidnapped by rebels in Mali
  8. Trump's Facebook ban upheld but with caveats

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Greek prisons accused of abusing detainees
  2. EU and US join up against China on Taiwan
  3. Conservatives' Covid-strategy wins in lockdown-fatigue Madrid
  4. Commission drafts new rules targeting foreign state aid
  5. Why Europe should stop worrying about 'sportswashing'
  6. Conference on Future of Europe must listen to local voices
  7. What happens now to the EU's post-Covid recovery fund?
  8. EU turns from China to India on free trade

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us