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Barroso for ever…

382 votes for, 219 against and 117 abstentions. It's neat, clean and smudge-free. The reappointment of José-Manuel Barroso to his position as Chief President of the European Executive for 5 years went better than expected at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Apart from a few electronic incidents, the voting keys of certain deputies not working at the last moment, everything worked like clockwork. And the symbolic threshold of an absolute majority has even been exceeded.

When Barroso enters the hemicycle, his supporters stand up and applaud for a long time. The flowers are on point. End of suspense. Breathing a sigh of relief, someone close to Barroso confides: “We are at the top of the range that we could hope for”. Its fiercest opponents, the Greens, may well claim that it is “a black day for Europe”. the heart is no longer really there. The political legitimacy of the President of the Commission is indisputable.


To get there, Barroso spared no effort. First, he had the support, acquired little by little, of the 27 Heads of State and Government, including the Socialists. A record. And the Spanish and Portuguese Prime Ministers, in particular, reminded their troops of their voting instructions, in the name of "Iberian solidarity". Then he was the only candidate in the running. Supported by the Christian Democrats of the EPP, his party, he met no one on his way. Its opponents (Greens, Socialists, Communists, etc.) failed to agree on an alternative candidate.


Finally, an undeniable fact, Barroso paid in person, multiplying the promises to convince the reluctant and win over the undecided. A “commissioner for civil liberties” for the Liberals, a “commitment to fight against social dumping” for the Socialists, a “less bureaucratic Europe” for the Eurosceptics. He also did not hesitate to receive, at the last minute, those who still had doubts, such as the three deputies from the New Centre.


Now the battle is not over. The new President of the Commission must form his Commission. Which won't be easy. All the Member States wanting an “important” position, either at the economic level (Competition or Internal Market), or at the level of external relations (the famous Minister of Foreign Affairs), it will be necessary to avoid disappointment. "He made so many promises to everyone that it will be difficult to keep them," said Catherine Trautmann, leader of the French Socialists, who voted as one man against Barroso.


But for now, Barroso prefers to savor his victory. He realized his dream: to be able to serve two terms at the head of the Commission, like Jacques Delors, at the end of a democratic election (which Delors did not have to endure).



(published in Ouest-France this morning)


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).