France luke-warm on new term for Barroso
Jose Manuel Barroso put in a bid to win a second term as European Commission president.Paris – France signalled tepid support for European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso's bid to win a second term Tuesday, with Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner saying he was the only contender.
EU leaders meeting next week as the European Council will probably grant Barroso a new mandate, Kouchner told the French National Assembly.
"I can't imagine that the Council in its current make-up will support someone other than the sole candidate. For the time being, that is Mr Barroso," said Kouchner.
Barroso's mandate expires in October, but he is seeking a second five-year term despite the European Union's struggle to reform and criticism of its response to the financial crisis.
Barroso is backed by Britain and Germany, but French President Nicolas Sarkozy had suggested a decision on the commission presidency could be delayed until after Ireland's second referendum on the Lisbon treaty in October.
Kouchner said Barroso had been "extremely effective" as the head of the EU's executive during France's stint as EU president last year.
Barroso agreed Tuesday to stand again as commission president after a formal request from the European Union presidency.
AFP / Expatica