Barroso secures new term as head of EU commission
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso secured a second five-year term on Wednesday in a vote at the European Parliament. Of the assembly's 736 deputies, 382 voted for the 53-year-old center-right leader and 219 were opposed. The rest abstained or did not take part in the vote in the French city of Strasbourg. Barroso said after the vote that solidarity, freedom and a stronger Europe would be his priorities. Barroso, the only candidate, had already been endorsed by the 27 European Union member states, and his reappointment as head of the EU's executive had been all but certain because his center-right allies are the main force in the EP. He had required only a simple majority but hoped to win by a wide margin to reinforce his legitimacy and help him push through reforms such as tightening financial regulation to prevent a repeat of the economic crisis. He will now start choosing the rest of the commission, which includes a representative of each member state under the current rules and has important powers to shape EU laws and policy, controls a large budget and is a powerful regulatory authority. Barroso, a Portuguese former prime minister who has led the commission since 2004, told the EP on Tuesday he hoped to steer Europe out of economic crisis and give it more clout on the world stage. "If you want a strong commission, that stands up sometimes to member states, that stands up to national egoisms, you should give the commission the strong support it takes [to do so]," Barroso said. In related news, Turkey's chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis welcomed Barroso securing a new term. Bagis said that over the last five years Barroso had spearheaded developing and pursuing realistic policies for the EU. "Mr. Barroso extended support to the EU's enlargement and Turkey's membership process during his term in office as the president of the European Commission," he added. "We will continue working together with the new commission formed under Barroso's leadership with the target of full membership."