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No point in left opposing Barroso, says Müntefering - The Irish Times - Thu, May 28, 2009

BERLIN - The leader of Germany's Social Democrats says there is little point in Europe's socialist bloc naming a candidate to try to stop European Commission president José Manuel Barroso winning a second term. Mr Barroso's five-year mandate expires this year.

Asked if Europe's centre-left would put up a challenger, Franz Müntefering replied: "What would the point of that be? It would be naive to do that. There are 27 EU countries and 21 of those are led by conservative governments.

"And at least two others, Portugal and Spain, are for Barroso. Do you think the other four should put up a challenger?" he asked. - (Reuters)

What about at least going through the motions of trying to campaign for a left-green majority in the EP by nominating an alternative to block Barroso?  Why is the left conceding defeat before the election? Will that not just de-motivate its voters and make the defeat even worse?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 08:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to consider that Münte is in effect speaking for the Council...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Parliament can still mount an opposition, as they did the first time around.

Barroso Commission

Commissioner hearings

During the [September/October 2004] hearings, members found fault in a number of Commissioners. Committees questioned the suitability of Ingrida Udre (Taxation and Customs Union), László Kovács (Energy), Neelie Kroes (Competition) and Mariann Fischer-Boel (Agriculture). However the most controversial was Rocco Buttiglione as European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security due to his conservative comments (on women's position in marriage and that homosexuality was a sin) which, in the eyes of some MEPs, made him unsuitable for a job securing civil rights in the EU[16] leading to the civil rights committee to be the first committee to vote down an incoming Commissioner.[17]

The Socialists were the most vocal critics of Barroso and his proposed Commission, while the People's Party backed the Commission with the liberals split. Barroso attempted to offer small concessions to Parliament but they were not accepted as the Socialists made clear they would vote down the Commission as it stood, leaving the divided liberals holding the balance of whether the Barroso Commission would be the first Commission in EU history to rejected by Parliament. The People's Party demanded that if Buttiglione were to go, then a Socialist commissioner must also be sacrificed for balance.[18]

Barroso eventually gave in and withdrew his proposed college of Commissioners and, following three weeks which left Prodi continuing as a caretaker, proposed a new line up. There were three changes to help his dented authority and win the support of Parliament: Buttiglione had been withdrawn by Italy and replaced by foreign minister Franco Frattini, László Kovács was moved from Energy to Taxation and Ingrida Udre was withdrawn and replaced by Andris Piebalgs who took over the now vacant post of Energy.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in end effect, that was more an example of Parliaments ineptness. Most of the changes were just a re-shuffle, many of the unfit commissioners remained -- and Barroso himself, the Commission president whose 'qualifications' as former PM were just shattered by the deficit explosion and the exposure of fudging numbers in Portugal, was not challenged. Then again, given the right-wing+liberal majority, the PES could not have changed that even if it wanted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:03:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(But it didn't.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
in end effect, that was more an example of Parliaments ineptness
But it was a shot across the bow - nobody expected the Parliament to flex its muscle in this way, and Barroso is clearly lobbying to pre-empt a repetition.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:06:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I distinctly rmember my elation at the move no one expected, and my disillusion when the second vote came.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:30:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that this was the first time the EP had challenged anything of any significance, it was quite a milestone, and given that the Liberals held the balance of power, there was a limit to what the PES could achieve.

But what baffles me now is why the PES - even if it is divided and unlikely to win a majority - doesn't at least campaign for an alternative to the Barroso agenda - if only to improve its representation and bargaining position after the election.

Oppositions don't always win.  But they do have a valid role in a democracy acting as an opposition.  What the socialist seem to be saying to the electorate is that they are not up to the job of opposition, never mind government.  

So why wouldn't the electorate turn to a variety of nationalist/proto fascist snake oil salesmen if they are unhappy with the status quo? The proto-Fascists/Eurosceptics are the only ones presenting an anti-status quo message - however falsely - and thus are likely to shape the dominant narrative of the coming EP.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 10:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The PES needs to adopt its place as the "leader of the opposition" in the European Union given that the EPP is the majority party by a long shot. However, due to the fact that most national member parties have recently been in power, they have a hard time adopting this "natural opposition" role. They also want too much to "play nice" and are too ready to enter into "grand coalition" power-sharing agreements with the EPP.

The fact that the PES challenged the Liberals and not the Conservatives in the exchange of open letters that opened the EP campaign is telling in this respect. They see the Liberals' challenge for second place as more important/viable than their own challenge of the EPP for first place.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 10:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't the PES just vote for Satan and be done with it?

'He's not that bad really. And we can't field anyone better.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 10:27:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cthulhu/Hastur 2012 - why vote for the lesser evil?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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