Correspondent's Choice

This story was first published on 9th June 2009 by

Just hours after the EU election results were known, leading MEPs began to discuss ‘grand’ political alliances for appointing the next European Commission and Parliament presidents.

Joseph Daul, the chairman of the centre-right EPP-ED group, threw down the gauntlet yesterday (8 June), by proposing a grand coalition between the European People’s Party (EPP), the liberal ALDE group and the Party of European Socialists (PES) to reappoint Barroso.

At the same press event, EPP President Wilfried Martens admitted that choosing the EPP’s candidate for the post of European Parliament president would not be easy. He even recalled that in the distant past his group had been forced to hold an internal secret ballot to agree on a single candidate.

Martens admitted that even in a possible alliance with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the EPP would be short of a parliamentary majority, as it would then have 348 MEPs, while a majority is only reached with 379. He therefore specifically mentioned the Socialists as a potential partner in this case too.

ALDE leader Graham Watson, who was the first to officially announce his candidacy for president of the EU assembly, appeared to disagree with the idea of a ‘grand coalition’, as he prefers an ‘ideological coalition’ between the EPP and ALDE.

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