Thursday, July 01, 2004

Almost there

The new President-designate of the Commission may be holding meetings with the Commission’s civil service chief, David O’Sullivan, but back in the European Parliament, trouble may be brewing. The Socialists are not happy.

As we have reported before the fact that President Barroso is a man of the right (sort of) has caused all sorts of complaints about lack of democracy and inadequate methods of choice. Some of us still remember the reluctance of the then largest grouping, the PSE (Socialists) to indict or even criticize the clearly corrupt Commission of Jacques Santer. He, of course, was of the left.

Some of the MEPs say that Barroso is so unknown in Europe that they cannot decide whether to vote for him or not on July 22. This is quite extraordinary. After all, nobody has actually heard of about 90 per cent of the members of the European parliament and, just a couple of weeks ago, they asked all of us to vote for them, often chosen on a closed party list, without knowing anything at all of them.

Then there is the complaint that the system is not geared to choosing the best person, unlike, presumably, the party lists that favour people entirely on merit. That is why we have a European parliament filled to the brim with people who are intelligent, knowledgeable, honourable … errm … just a minute …. well, there must be some who are reasonably intelligent, etc etc …. one or two maybe ….

Of course, what is really annoying the MEPs on the left is Barroso’s appearance as the last minute candidate. All their objections would have applied to Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium but they would not have voiced them. Verhofstadt is a man of the left, a convinced statist and vociferously anti-American. The left in the European Parliament would have accepted him.

The chances are that Barroso will get the vote on July 22 but, until then, there will be much gnashing of teeth in the wilderness of Brussels.

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