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Juncker Commission finally elected by the European Parliament

Posted 22/10/2014

 

The European Parliament gave this week its strong support to the new European Commission with 423 votes in favour (out of 699), 209 against and 67 abstentions. The Juncker Commission can thus start its term of office on 1 November 2014.

Similarly, last July, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker  w in a secret ballot ith 422 votes in favour as President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five year term. The minimum number of votes required was 376.

For the first time in the history of the EU, the European Parliament elected - and not merely approved - the President of the European Commission following a proposal by the European Council, according to the rules laid down in the Lisbon Treaty (December 2009).

President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker said: "After a long democratic journey, today my team crossed the finishing line. I feel honoured that my Commission has received the democratic backing of the European Parliament. Now it is time to roll up our sleeves and get down to work: to kick-start economic recovery, create more and better jobs, address the plight of Europe's youth for a better future, protect the most vulnerable in our society and cope with the rapidly deteriorating geopolitical situation. Together, we will succeed."

This marks the last step in the process leading up to the new European Commission. Following the first pan-European election campaign, Jean-Claude Juncker was proposed on 27 June by the European Council to the European Parliament as candidate for Commission President. The European Council thereby took the result of the elections to the European Parliament into account, as required under the Lisbon Treaty.

Following this election and an interview process of candidates for Commissioners, the President-elect selected the other members of the Commission. The final list of Commissioners-designate was then agreed between the President-elect and the Council on 5 September. President-elect Juncker presented his team and the allocation of portfolios on 10 September which was followed by individual hearings of the Commissioners-designate in front of the relevant European Parliament committees.

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Validatory speech of Barroso before Members of the European Parliament

Barroso made his valedictory speech in the EU parliament on Tuesday after ten years in office, but few MEPs turned up to listen and those who did gave him a mixed review

His speech focused on the challenging faced by his institution during his decade of mandate. Both institutional, financial and economic crisis have been closely meet with important reforms, such as the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty and the Banking Union were amongst those mentioned by the exiting President of the Commission were the Lisbon Treaty and the Banking Union.

He also highlighted the process of enlargement, being Croatia the last country to join the European Union, now summing up 28 countries. Additionally, Barroso touched upon the enormous efforts of the Union in keeping Greece within the Euro.

Outside our borders, Barroso said: "The European Union was able, during all this crisis, to open, to consolidate and to unite on a continental scale almost all of Europe around the values of peace, of freedom and of justice, I think it is a great thing we should commemorate and not to be ashamed of, as some seem to be".

This is relevant not only as the Union's commitment to Ukraine conflict, offering an association agreement and a free trade agreement that, in spite of all the difficulties, Ukraine has signed and ratified.

Offering his verdict at the helm of the European Commission Presidency over these last ten years, the exiting President of the Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso ended his speech: "I can tell you that we have not achieved everything we could, or everything we would have liked to have achieved, but I think we have worked with the right conscience, putting the global interest of the European Union above specific interests. And I believe that now there are conditions to continue to do work for a united, open and stronger Europe."

As European Union history has shown, only time will tell how Barroso's mandate will be judged by the citizens of Europe.

Click here to see the full speech