We had another meeting of the S&D Group this week. You may not be surprised to know that the decision on the Commission President, which I reported on a few days ago, will be postponed until after the summer recess. I must say I never doubted that it would be, though the leadership of the S&D Group is hailing this a a “massive victory” to quote President Martin Schulz.
Martin Schulz has, however, asked that there is some element of nascent democracy in the process, in that he wants the President of the Commission designate (designate in that there is no other candidate) , Jose Manuel Barosso, to appear at each of the political groups in the European Parliament with his manifesto for the next five years. Groups can then agree his nomination if they find him convincing. This strikes me as a good idea and is not unlike the “confirmation” hearings currently held by European Parliament Committees regarding individual Commissioners.
But the Swedish Presidency do not agree with even this modicum of involvement by the European Parliament and the centre-right Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, wants to formalise the appointment of Commission President himself. He is even intending to write to all heads of government in the EU to ask them to support Barosso. It is beginning ot look as if this important decision will be taken by post rather than at a summit meeting.
None of this is good news for the EU and European democracy. I can’t believe it would hurt to have a more open process, especially as there is only one name in the field.