European commission: Putting the boot into Barroso
17 June 2009
On June 18 and 19, EU leaders are likely to support José Manuel Barroso’s candidacy for a second term as President of the European Commission. The former Portuguese prime-minister, however, is not a politician to everyone’s taste, as a swingeing profile in the Guardian demonstrates.
For the next few weeks, writes David Cronin, conversation in Brussels will turn around “what posts a smug cabal of overpaid and uninspiring men (and one or two women) will be able to wangle for themselves.” None more uninspiring, it would seem, than José Manuel Barroso, who now seeks a second term as Commission president. While his supporters suggest that “he enjoys a mandate of sorts” because affiliated to the centre right that won a majority of seats in the European election, Cronin points out that “not one person who cast a vote in any of the EU's 27 countries would have seen Barroso's name on a ballot paper.” Indeed, on the few occastions EU citizens have been given a say on his policies, Barroso has been “rebuffed”. Not only was the EU constitution he championed rejected in France and the Netherlands in 2005, but in its most recent incarnation, the Lisbon treaty, it was rejected by the Irish in 2008. Barroso, however, refused to accept the result and insisted the poll be reheld. Proof, argues Cronin, ( who goes on to attack the candidate’s record in financial, economic and environmental policy ) of his “contempt for democracy”.