As various places are reporting, Barroso is now saying he needs more time to secure the European Parliament’s assent to his Commission. Faced with the prospect of a majority of MEPs voting to reject the entire Commission, he’s taken this unprecedented step, handing a significant victory to Parliament.
According to the German newspaper whose web site really could be better organized, negative votes were likely to come from the Socialist, United Left, Liberal and Green groupings, as well as a large number of independent deputies. The head of the Socialist group, Martin Schulz (Ger-SPD), is quoted estimating 362 no votes to 345 yes votes.
Get ready for some horse trading, because Buttiglione is not the only problem. As we noted here previously, Laszlo Kovacs (Hun-MSzP) is in trouble for not knowing enough about energy policy. Neelie Kroes (Neth-VVD) is thought to be too close to industry to be an effective competition Commissioner. Ingrida Udre (Lat-Center) is in trouble for a party-finance scandal. Stavros Dimas (Gre-ND) is “accused of incompetence” according to another German newspaper (whose web site is only marginally better). And Mariann Fischer Boel (DK-Liberal) is having trouble as prospective Commissioner for agriculture because she receives EU farming subsidies. (The Union has all of the nominees’ biographies here.)
Proposals for ending the standoff abound, including an emergency summit of EU government leaders tomorrow. We’ll see.
It’s usually foolhardy to anticipate a clear outcome from any intra-EU conflict. In this case, however, I think the question “Can EU governments appoint anyone they please to the Commission?” is about to receive a definitive, “No.”