Collared! Durão Barroso receives same award as Salazar

Collared! Barroso receives same award as Salazar

Days after (finally) leaving his post as president of the European Commission, Durão Barroso is to be honoured by President of the Republic Cavaco Silva with a title that has only once before been given to a Portuguese national.
The Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator was bestowed on former Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar in 1968 for services relevant to Portugal, both within the country and abroad.
The five-tier order is a form of Portuguese knighthood, with the Grand Collar being the top-tier, shared by 89 kings, presidents and emperors, including the former Shah of Iran, Prince Philip of England and Nelson Mandela.
Announcing this latest accolade for the man described by the British press recently as an “oily Eurocrat”, President Cavaco Silva said that Barroso’s ten-year term at the head of the European Commission was “the highest international position ever assumed by a Portuguese”.
Acknowledging the end of Barroso’s second mandate in Brussels, prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said that his decade at the helm had stood as a “symbol of the Portuguese political trust in Europe” peppered by difficulties through which the politician had navigated with “decisive action”.
“I highlight in particular his firm defence in the stablisation of the eurozone”, Passos Coelho stated in a release issued on Friday, referring also to the “steps taken in the creation of the Economic, Monetary and Banking Union”.
The praise was a far cry from criticism in the English press recently, which described the European Commission as “a collection of unaccountable, interfering, overpaid paper-shufflers and time-servers”.
Barroso’s departure comes five-months after the outgoing president named his successor, pro-European Jean-Claude Juncker.
As former Portuguese PM Pedro Santana Lopes commented earlier this month, the delay in the handover has been “unbelievable”.
“The eurozone economies and those of the union are in increasing difficulties and we have all been waiting, since May 25, for the new executive to take over.
“In practice, it is equivalent to having had everything on hold”,, he wrote, as the outgoing administration did “not have legitimacy to take a determined type of decisions”.
This will all finally chance on Monday morning, as Juncker and his new team take over.