Reuniting Europe

I am glad that my article on Verhofstadt who faces headwinds for being appointed candidate of the Liberals to become the new Commission President is making waves. It would be unfair if such a legitimate candidate for the top EU job would not at least run. (I have no doubt that Barroso’s job is more important than Van Rompuy’s)

Moreover, a survey EurActiv did together with Burson-Marsteller and was published today reveals that Verhofstadt is the personality most of our readers is likely to be appointed as next Commission President.

Verhofstadt tops the list with 9.1%, followed by Tony Blair ar 8.5% and Barroso (for a third term) at 8.2%.

Indeed, nothing in EU treaties prevents Barroso for running for a third time. Barroso has very poor marks in terms of individual performance (2.5 out of 10. The second highest mark is to my delight, for my compatriot Commisisoner Kristalina Georgieva – 5.5). But in spite of this, much to my surprise, Barroso is seen as a more credible EPP candidate than many powerful competitors.

Let me also remind for which possible candidates those who filled the survey voted:

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE)
Andrus Ansip (ALDE, EE)
Emma Bonnino (ALDE, IT)
Nick Clegg (ALDE, UK)
Herman Van Rompuy (EPP, BE)
Angela Merkel (EPP, DE)
José María Aznar (EPP, ES)
Joseph Daul (EPP, FR)
François Fillon (EPP,FR)
Nicolas Sarkozy (EPP, FR)
Dalia Grybauskaitė (EPP, LT)
Jean-Claude Juncker (EPP, LU)
Viviane Reding (EPP, LU)
Radek Sikorski (EPP, PL)
Donald Tusk (EPP, PL)
José Manuel Barroso (EPP, PT)
Fredrik Reinfelt (EPP, SE)
Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Greens/EFA, DE)
Mario Monti (IND, IT)
Hannes Swoboda (PES, AU)
Sergei Stanishev (PES, BG)
Martin Schulz (PES, DE)
Gerhard Schröder (PES, DE)
Helle Thorning-Schmidt (PES, DK)
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PES, ES)
Pascal Lamy (PES, FR)
Martine Aubry (PES, FR)
George Papandreou (PES, GR)
Tony Blair (PES, UK)

Two high-profile liberals, Anders Fogh Rasmussen are candidates for top EU jobs. Rasmussen reportedly eyes Van Rompuy’s job and Guy Vehofstadt is an obvious candidate for Commission President. What is now needed is a debate.

To a large extent, a vote in Parliament next week to hold the European Election in May 2014 instead of June, could give advantage to Verhofstadt. The term of Rasmussen in NATO expires in June.

So let’s have this debate. And I will be happy to report.

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