No absolution for Buttiglione

The Buttiglione crisis
has deepened with MEPs unconvinced by the
conciliation offer from President Barroso.
Apologies from the Italian commissioner
designate for offences made about homosexual
‘sinners’ have got him

The ‘Rocco Horror Show’ looks set to
remain the best piece of political theatre in town
for yet another week until the final showdown and
vote in Strasbourg on 27 October. 

The conciliation meeting between EP political group
leaders and President Barroso on 21 October was far from
a success. Prior to the meeting Rocco Buttiglione
had written a letter expressing ‘profound
regret’ over the upheaval his words about homosexual
‘sinners’ had created. He had not wanted to
offend anyone, and he further admitted that
“words so emotionally charged as sin should perhaps
not be introduced into the political debate”.

However, these fine words, Barroso’s
refusal to consider a reshuffle
of portfolios and the proposal to
set up a group of four commissioners to shadow
Buttiglione on matters of discrimination failed to
impress MEPs. The offer was deemed as
“cosmetic” by the leader of the 200-strong
Socialist group. A majority of the 88-member Liberal
group and 42 Greens also gave their thumbs down to
Barroso. Despite the support from the biggest 268-strong
Conservative PPE group, Barroso is still left 71
votes short of ensuring the approval of his team.

Nonetheless Barroso remained confident that MEPs will
not go all the way and sack his full team. He
commented that ” a holy war is the last
thing Europe needs. I don’t believe there will be a
Catholic/non-Catholic split or one between secular and
Christian Europe”. 



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