Friday 1 May 2009

Barroso and I - European elections

Euronews in European elections – EPP backs Barros mandate II tells us:

“The center-right European People’s Party has given public backing to the re-appointment of Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as the president of the European Commission.

The EPP’s unanimous decision came at the end of the party’s two-day congress in Warsaw, at which it launched its European Parliament election campaign.”


What has this backing to do with me?

It is no great surprise that Barroso’s own political fraction, the European People’s Party (EPP), endorses a new five year term for him at the helm of the Commission.

However, in the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon and within the possibilities of the Treaty of Nice, I had expected each political party at European level to nominate its own candidate for the post.

There are no other words for it: The Socialists, the Liberals, the Greens and other Europarties have defected.

Martin Schulz seems to have forgotten that the nomination of the President of the Commission has to be approved by the European Parliament.

Graham Watson is deflecting interest by campaigning for the post of President of the European Parliament.

The Greens have said that they dislike Barroso, but they have failed to find an alternative.

“Holy Alliance”

Members of the European Council, heads of state or government, have incapacitated their own Europarties in order to relieve the EU citizens from the burden of influencing the future course of the Commission and by extension the European Union.

“North Korea”

Long before these quisling acts, I made a public promise to vote for the Europarty with the best top candidate.

Now I face a North Korean style choice.

Shall I vote for the only candidate available?

Or should I go back on my promise, because our national leaders have ridiculed even the limited choice they had signed up to and the Europarties have flunked the very cause of their existence?

Nobody but Barroso?

Who in his right mind can call the European elections 2009 an exercise in transnational democracy?

Ralf Grahn


  1. With all deficiencies, it still remains a choice of MEPs who will represent us over the next years, who will work on legislation, push the public and less public agenda(s) towards certain topics.

    That is still a democratic choice with influence on the work of one legislative chamber of the European Union, and it's worth voting since there is this choice.

  2. I can understand your disappointment. But maybe I never had so far reaching hopes in first place. It would be already a start to see parties making a sort of a European campaign. Reality seems however that they do not even make much a national style campaign. Thats what worries me.

    The only ones who seem to work transeuropean as good as they can are these idealists who call themselves "Newropeans". In Germany and a couple of other memberstates they made it onto the list. I would vote for them, if I could. Even knowing that chances are meager that it actually makes a difference. Ironically even Ganley with his Libertas is more pan European in the meanwhile than most mainstream parties.

    My own guess is that the Parliament does not want to risk an open fight with the council as long as there exist realistic chances that Lisbon could become reality. As soon as it should I could imagine that the parliament will not waste time in making extensive use of its new found powers. That does not really include the role of appointing Commission candidates but with new found confidence they may do so nonetheless.

  3. I've gotten the impression that the PES would like to run a candidate, but because of the socialist prime ministers it will have to be done after the elections in the event of a centre-left victory in the EP. Which is why the PES and EPP have clashed over when the Commission President should be appointed - the longer the PES has, the better chance they have of presenting a strong opposition/alternative.

    Of course, that all underlines the PES's weakness.

    I'd say vote in line with your political leanings. I'd say you're released from your promise of voting for the best Presidential candidate, if there is only one. You can't have a "best" in a category of one.

  4. European elections: Do you know Newropeans (
    the first citizen movement to introduce the same program in several countries in Europe for more democracy.

    A electoral campaign in 3 countries, France, the Netherlands and Germany, the same program offered to 130 million European voters.

    Members of Newropeans founders were directly involved in the launch of the Erasmus program in 1987.

    Franck Biancheri, President Newropeans, is director of the think tank LEAP/E2020 (, which has put on hold since February 2006 in detail the current development of the global systemic crisis.

    See Newropeans 16 proposals to democratize the European Union here
    See the full program here

    And finally SIGN THE PETITION:
    'For the European elections truly European and democratic'
    HELP NEWROPEANS in France or Europe

  5. Julien,

    Naturally, I am going to vote. It is my righ and duty as an EU citizen.

    But I would be a hypocrite if I pretended to be enthusiastic over a union primarily based on heads of state or government, delaying the advent of accountable European level government.

  6. Slartifartbas,

    Even with the Lisbon Treaty we are still far from responsible European level government, although the European Parliament will ty to modify practices in a parliamenary direction.

    The Newropeans, which I have written about, are interesting, but they have to build coalitions on a new level if they want to start influencing European affairs.

  7. Eurocentric,

    It is hardly a choice for voters if the PES candidate is unveiled after the elections when they have chosen the losing strategy not to field a canidate in time.

  8. Marianne,

    I have sympathy for the pan-European Newropeans, but they need to rise above their presen level of a cosy sewing circle if they want to make an impact.

  9. I agree that there's little choice when the PES don't put forward a candidate. Still, I think it's [strengthening the left in the EP] the only partially realistic chance of someone other than Barroso being picked.

    Very unsatisfactory as it would be more protest voting than actual democratic engagement, but that's what we're stuck with now.

  10. Eurocentric,

    The PES will probably be the second largest group after the European elections despite their defection, but election campaigns offer possibilities for more innovative players as well.

    Let's say that I had to plan the campaign for the Liberals, the Greens or Libertas.

    I would absolutely field a known European as candidate for the Commission Presidency and lobby media to arrange debates between the top candidates.

    Even a few obscure indy TV channels would reveal to the other parties what they have missed.


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