Verhofstadt lists conditions for Barroso II

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Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the European Parliament’s Liberal group, has sent a list of demands to Commission President José Manuel Barroso in return for his group’s support for nominating the Portuguese for a second term at the EU executive’s helm. The Socialists did likewise on Monday.

The list, spelled out in a letter to the Commission president, includes the creation of a new portfolio for fundamental rights and anti-discrimination in the next EU executive. 

The letter, obtained today (15 July) by EURACTIV, takes stock of decisions adopted by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), during the assembly’s opening plenary session in Strasbourg. It was transmitted to Barroso immediately. 

The Liberals are calling for a specific portfolio on fundamental rights and anti-discrimination to be created in the new Commission, which will be sworn in at the end of the year. 

Until now, the issue has been covered separately by the commissioners in charge of justice and employment and social affairs respectively. 

“We expect that EU citizens are granted genuine and enforceable rights, notably in the fields of equality and anti-discrimination, protection of minorities and the fight against racism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Gypsism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” the letter says. 

The Liberals also insist that the next Commission president must commit to a single European recovery plan, noting that Europe has until now adopted 27 different – and often protectionist – packages. 

In this endeavour, the Commission is asked to take into account the EU’s climate package, new technologies and sustainable investment, as well as to develop sectoral strategies similar to those successfully adopted in the automotive and banking sectors. 

In addition, Verhofstadt called for the establishment of a single European financial supervisor and the introduction of a medium-term EU budget plan for 2013-2020, based largely on independent own resources. He also called on the Commission to implement the new Directive on defence procurement. 

“We are eager to read your policy programme in the weeks to come and meet you to discuss this and the content of your memorandum in September,” Verhofstadt’s letter concludes. 

Earlier this week, the Socialist group submitted a similar wish-list, asking Barroso to take social concerns onboard during his next five-year programme in return for their backing during a uncertain parliamentary confirmation vote due in the autumn (EURACTIV 14/07/09). 

Speaking in Parliament today, Socialist leader Martin Schulz warned that EU ministers had mishandled Barroso’s nomination. 

“I fear that this candidate will not get a majority unless he pulls his finger out,” said Schulz. 

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