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Barroso: Nothing ventured…   29/06/2009

Barroso: Nothing ventured… gained to stay president!             

 by Michaël Timmermans  

Thursday, 25 June 2009

 In these times of economic crisis, Jose Manuel Barroso could worry when he had to present the result of the 5 years he spent at the head of the European Commission. Fortunately for him, the leaders of the 27 European member states appreciated his inaction. They won’t send him add on to dole queues.

 With 57% of the votes, abstainers won the European elections. It is then logical that our national leaders, as unconditional defenders of Democracy, intend to put M. Barroso back in power for the next 5 years. For those who don’t know him yet, José Manuel Durão Barroso, a 53 years-old Portuguese politician, is the president of one of the most powerful bodies of the European Union, the Commission, since 2004.

 If we take into account the way he discouraged the hopes of the Europeans and how he undermined their institutions, the track record of Mr. Barroso is remarkable. After the French and Dutch “No’s” to the European Constitution, the President of the European Commission managed to hold his course. Instead of listening to European citizens’ criticisms, he decided to “give them another chance” by proposing them the same text but with another name, the “Treaty of Lisbon”. Of course, popular denials could just have been caused by that name “Constitution”. As a magnanimous and educationalist prince, Jose Manuel Barroso also let the Irish vote a second time after they rejected the Treaty in June 2008. Thoughtful, the President of the Commission understood very well they needed time to understand his 300 pages of unreadable text.

 There are many criticisms about the way Mr. Barroso led the European Policy in the past 5 years. Put in power by Tony Blair, he is accused of excessively deregulating the markets… The daily newspaper Liberation blames the current president’s lack of vision and says “he has been  unable to present a single new idea to relaunch the European Union”[1]. Jacques Attali goes even further on Euronews. Regarded as François Mitterrand’s “grey eminence”, Mr. Attali starts by stating that “European leaders are happy to send only mediocre politicians to Brussels(…) because then they can keep real power at home.”[2] Then he directly attacks Mr. Barroso by saying that “Apart from Jacques Delor,  we have never had, for 30 or 40 years, a top drawer Commission President.”[3]

 Even if some growing discontent in the media seems to correspond to European citizens’ protests, once more, Jose Manuel Barroso has understood the main thing: by using as little as possible the power of the Commission and by letting national selfishness express itself to the highest degree, he made sure to gain the support of those who will decide of its future, national leaders. After all, 500 million citizens, who cares?

Michaël Timmermans
Bruxelles, Belgique
source :

 [1] Cinq raisons de ne pas reconduire Barroso (Libération)

 [2] EuroNews

 [3] Idem


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