Members of the newly-enlarged European Parliament met for the first time in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The new parliament has 20 official languages and will represent 450 million people. A total of 732 MEPs were elected last month from 25 European countries, including the 10 new member states that joined the EU in May.
Former Portuguese Prime Minister José Durão Barroso is likely to be confirmed as the next president of the European Commission. After a series of gruelling meetings involving all five of the EU parliament’s main political groups, he is generally seen to have done well and is expected to be confirmed by a secret vote.
But analysts claim that, for Barroso, the hard work is only starting. He now has to decide how to distribute the many lucrative portfolios among the the new European executive. Commentators claim that Germany and France have already asked for the main portfolios, and that Barroso will need all his diplomatic skills to show the rest of the EU he is not in the pocket of the biggest countries.