Former Portuguese Prime Minister, José Manuel Durão Barroso, has been confirmed as the new head of the European Commission. Out of 732 members eligible to vote, 413 were in favour, with 251 against – a decisive majority of over 160 MEPs. After his approval by EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, Barroso reiterated that he would stand firm for the EU collective interest over the demands of national governments. “The independence of my commission is crucial for its credibility,” he told reporters.
Reporting direct from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, UK Conservative MEP and The Resident columnist, Philip Bushill-Matthews, commented: “In the past fortnight, Durão Barroso has spent considerable time in Brussels and Strasbourg being grilled by different political groups of MEPs. He has impressed us all, and it has been no surprise that he gained the support of the clear majority of MEPs when it came to the final vote. A few weeks ago he was a relative unknown outside Portugal and, therefore, called ‘Mr Nobody’. In reality, it has been his lacklustre left-wing predecessor as Commission President, Romano Prodi, who has turned out to be the ‘Mr Nobody’. Barroso will make a strong president who will drive real change.”