According to a report in the German newspaper Die Welt, the EU parliament socialists were not acting entirely on their own when they failed to support Farage’s attempt last week to get Barroso to attend the parliament to answer questions about his relationship with Spiros Latsis.
The paper reports that there was heavyweight intervention, with Schröder telephoning Martin Schulz, chairman of the socialist group in the EU parliament, to get him to back off.
Schröder was acting "out of consideration for the referendum in France" and managed to dissuade the parliament's socialist group from supporting a call to have Barroso publicly questioned at the plenary session in Strasbourg this week.
Until Farage intervened with his motion of censure, the plan was for Barroso plans to refute the accusation of a conflict of interests behind closed doors with the presidents of the political groups.
This rather explains their sharp reaction to the motion and suggest that the action has hit an extremely raw nerve.