Apparently a few PES activists have launched a good new Website “A-New-President.eu“. It has a similar message to the AnyoneButBarroso.eu initiative Jon and me started about two years ago.
Its main element is the petition (I have also signed):
The European Parliament will elect the next European Commission. We, the voters on June 7 do not only decide the composition of the European Parliament, we also decide upon the driving seat of the EU: The European Commission. The composition of the executive EU body – the European Commission – has to reflect the vote of us EU citizens on June 7.
We call for the PES to build a new progressive majority with a strong Commission President.
We demand respect for our democratic rights! We demand that the Presidency of the European Council makes sure that the European Governments nominate a Commission President that reflects the majority in the European Parliament.
Besides the petition the activists put up relevant information on the building up of the Commission and speculations about Barroso’s replacement. Continue reading →
Admittedly, the PES is running a fairly good internet campaign. They have relaunched their web presence way ahead of the European elections and maybe even more importantly they have made a good effort to reach out to (EU) bloggers. They have even included me in their blogger email target list – so that I get updates whenever key blog posts from the party leader Nyrup Rasmussen come out or they hold key events.
I wish the European Greens (EGP) would have been able to run an equally good campaign.
There are two reasons why I am writing this blog entry – and why I am writing it on my blog.
The other day I have received an email from Jeremy Cliffe, the PES’s focal point for bloggers. He was linking up to a recent blog entry by Nyrup Rasmussen in which he declares that the PES is working towards a new majority to stop Barroso. – What a surprise I thought… as if this is not the logic of pluralist political party systems in which parties actually compete for leadership. However, this logic has not really got through to the PES leaders who have been incapable of agreeing on a candidate for the job of Commission President. Given that the PES is (still?) by far the second biggest grouping in EU politics, such a lack of responsibility is the biggest farce in democratic politics Continue reading →
The European People’s Party (EPP) is planning to nominate its candidate for the post of Commission President at an American-style “Convention” in Warsaw in April 2009 (s. Europolitique). However, the realisation of this idea depends on the future of the Lisbon Treaty EPP tells. In addition to a common candidate the EPP is also preparing a “common legislative programme” for the next term which is to be adopted in Warsaw at the same Convention.
But with a Convention in town and the close Polish-American relations I am only wondering if Obama or McCain (or Pope Benedict?) will be invited to speak to the European delegates?
Werner Langen, leader of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament commented on the selection of the next EU Commissioner:
According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of today, Langen says that there is no deal with the SPD about the next Commissioner (being traded for SPD support for president Köhler). – I also think that the CDU has a point in demanding the post. As clearly Germany’s biggest party – and with highest likeliness to lead also the next government after 2009 it only makes sense to send one of their own “to Brussels”. FAZ mentions three potential candidates for the post: Peter Hintze, Roland Koch and Elmar Brok. – My guess is that Hintze has the best chances but there is another interesting candidate who doesn’t push himself into the speculations yet.
When asked about a second term for Barroso, Langen is also quite reluctant to support him. Apparently, according to Portugese newspaper “Publicos” Merkel favours Barroso as president of the European Council (while I still argue that those two posts should be merged in any case).
This is the first time that I read such an explicit demand for the Commission post from a ranking CDU politician. However, let’s not overestimate Langen’s role in the party. Merkel will carefully evaluate the situation with her advisers later in the year. And if she is really up for a strategic move, she will present a Commissioner from the CDU with who the Greens can be appeased (both by his personality as well as by offering jobs in the cabinet and alike) – so as to open doors for any kind of CDU-Green coalition option in 2009.