One person’s democracy is another person’s dictatorship. Or so you would believe if you’ve been following the interminable debate surrounding the next Commission President. Will it be the incumbent José Manuel Barroso? Or will it be….er…. well, actually there are no other candidates at the time of writing.
Barroso is of course affiliated to the EPP group, who increased their lead over the Socialists and the rest so markedly following last month’s elections. No other party has put forward a candidate, so he’s a shoe-in, right?
Not according to the Socialists. Or the Liberals. Or the Greens. According to them, the Council has foisted Barroso on a reluctant Parliament and is trying to rush MEPs into approving Barroso this month. So much so that there is now increasing support for the vote in the Parliament to be put back until the Autumn – or until Barroso decides that he faces too much opposition in the Parliament and calls it quits.
Barroso has the support of the largest party in the European Parliament, the support of the Member States including “Socialist” leaders in Spain and the UK, and – so it would appear – the support of the European electorate, since it was his party that stormed the elections in June – and not the Socialists. Or the Liberals. Or the Greens.
Hence a Barroso appointment would appear to meet all the requirements of “democracy”, yet his political opponents in the Parliament are trying to portray this process as precisely undemocratic, because they don’t feel they have been properly consulted.
All of which leaves Barroso in limbo, the EPP holding their collective head in their hands, and the EU electorate wishing they could elect the Commission President to spare us this whole charade. Now that would be democracy in action….