European Parliament approves new EU commissionPublish date: 11-02-2010
The European Parliament (EP) elected the new European Commission (EC) by 488 votes to 137, with 72 abstentions, in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The vote took the form of a single ballot on the whole college of commissioners, consisting of one commissioner from each of the 27 European Union (EU) Member States.
The new 27-member commission led by Jos Manuel Barroso will stay in office until October 31, 2014. By way of comparison, Barroso's first commission was voted into office in November 2004 by 449 votes to 149, with 82 abstentions."This is the first time in our history that we are appointing the European Commission in our capacity as a real co-legislator," EP's President Jerzy Buzek said during the debate held on Tuesday morning.
"This is the dawn of a new decade, with a new way of working for the European institutions," he said.
Barroso stressed that accountability to parliament is " crucially important for the commission's democratic legitimacy."
The present exceptional times, with the economic crisis, climate change and energy security issues, meant that now was "a time for boldness," Barroso said.
"We need strong European institutions to tackle these challenges and it was up to the commission and parliament acting together to ensure that the EU is more than the sum of its parts," he added.
The election vote was preceded by hearings of the commissioners- designate organised by the committees of parliament in January and February.
Each committee sent an evaluation letter on the respective commissioner-designate to the Conference of Presidents, a body consisting of the EP President and the political group leaders.All these evaluations were positive, and on February 4 the Conference of Presidents gave the go-ahead for the vote to take place.
According to the European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development Romanian Dacian Ciolos, the majority by which the 2nd Barroso Commission was voted in by the European Parliament allows us to have courage in tackling this mandate, that begins in a difficult situation.
'Beyond the economic situation, beyond resolving the problems related to the downturn that will have to be found in the Commission's actions too, we have the Lisbon Treaty, a new treaty that changes the power configuration a little and that requires an European Commission adjustable and adjusted to the new political situation, but that also creates a new context in which I hope there will be more dynamism in proposing and implementing policies', Ciolos said, quoted by Agerpres correspondent..
He stressed the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be reformed, but now such policy can be re-thought and adjusted given the new financial prospects of the Union, that will allow a 'broad and clear' debate regarding the CAP future.
'We are to prepare an as broad as possible consultation on the CAP reform. In the upcoming period I am going to meet Spanish Agriculture Minister Mrs Espinoza, then the political groups in Parliament, especially within the AGRI commission in order to hold a more detailed discussion of the approaches and expectations that the AGRI members have - given that the three hours of the hearings were insufficient to discuss all the problems. Then I'll pay a visit to the member states, the agenda will be quite packed this year', the Romanian commissioner stressed.
Ciolos said the most important file this year will be to prepare the CAP after 2013 and he stressed this will be the priority of the first part of his tenure. 'I'll have then talks with the European Commissioner for trade (Karel De Gucht - editor's note) and I hope agriculture and rural development will find a place in this strategic approach that the Commission and the EU have for the future, the 2010 Strategy', he added.
The commissioner for agriculture said that the cooperation with the European Parliament in the agricultural area will be a 'very close' one. 'It will be the beginning of a new manner of working, a direct and pragmatic one related to all that the European agricultural file means', Ciolos said.
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