Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said he was proud to be Portuguese when the European Parliament confirmed him this week as the next President of the European Commission. But he is going to bring Lisbon to Brussels in more ways than one.

Many of the 319 members of the Parliament who didn't vote for him were disappointed at the priority he gave to economics, rather than to social affairs. This concern goes straight to the heart of the unresolved conflict in the EUs strategy to build a prosperous Europe by 2010 - the so-called Lisbon Process.

And Mr Barrosos term of office promises to be dominated by such feuding.

Leading Socialists in the Parliament insisted this week that the Lisbon process should be above all "a social processo and accused Mr Barroso of being too keen on deregulation, and of neglecting the creation of a Europe that is socially stable.

The 31 French Socialists in the EP were very explicit: Mr Barrosos choices lean too far to the right, with social affairs consistently relegated to second place. They want a Commission that unambiguously ofights injustice, remedies inequalities and cuts unemploymento and that guarantees public services, cohesion, tax harmonisation and minimum salaries and pensions.

The anxieties of the left are not surprising.

In his speech prior to the vote, Mr Barroso repeatedly...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT