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Barroso asks MEPs for new mandate

By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Strasbourg

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
Mr Barroso has the support of all 27 EU governments

The European Commission president has appealed to EU lawmakers to grant him a second five-year term in office.

Jose Manuel Barroso, a former prime minister of Portugal, faces a decisive vote on his bid on Wednesday. EU member state governments are backing him.

Mr Barroso comes from the right of the political spectrum, but in Strasbourg he pitched openly for the votes of left-wing lawmakers and liberals.

He emphasised his commitment to social policy, including equal pay for women.

He pledged to look again at existing laws to ensure that established workers were not undercut by cheap labour from other EU states.

Mr Barroso promised a new post of commissioner for civil liberties and minority rights.

By non-too-subtly courting his political opponents, Mr Barroso is expected to win the simple majority he needs to secure five more years at the Commission. But he will hope to go further in Wednesday's vote, by securing the absolute majority which would enhance his political credibility.

During the debate, Mr Barroso was strongly criticised by Martin Schulz, the leader of the parliament's opposition Socialist group. He accused the Commission president of serving the interests of EU member governments - which have unanimously backed his reappointment.

Other leftists said Mr Barroso represented the political approach which had caused the economic crisis.



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