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Barroso wins 2nd European Commission term
By ROBERT WIELAARD
Associated Press
2009-09-16 07:16 PM
The European Parliament gave Jose Manuel Barroso another five-year term as European Commission president Wednesday, but its vote bared lingering misgivings about the conservative ex-Portuguese premier.

The powerful executive position drafts EU-wide legislation and ensures governments obey it, and Barroso has promised to respond to the global economic crisis by reforming the financial sector and its "unethical bonuses."

Barroso, 53, was the only candidate when the 736-member EU assembly voted 382 to 219, with 117 abstentions, to back him for a second term as the EU's top executive.

The EU's 27 national government leaders had unanimously nominated Barroso for the position in June.

In a brief speech, he thanked the assembly for its "expression of enormous confidence in me" and said he will work with all political factions in the European Parliament to shape the bloc's legislation.

"I will do my best to serve the European interest," said Barroso.

Ahead of the vote, the assembly's socialist leader Martin Schulz said his group would not endorse Barroso, citing his weak leadership in protecting EU manufacturing jobs amid the world's worst economic crisis in decades.

Wednesday's vote paved the way for Barroso to pick his new 26-member team of commissioners in the weeks ahead. The new executive is expected to take office in January.

Under EU rules, the bloc's 27 government leaders pick a new president for the European Commission, the powerful executive that drafts EU-wide legislation and ensures governments comply with it. But the European Parliament must endorse their choice.

Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Barroso drew the support of an odd alliance comprising the assembly's Christian Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, but not its Socialists.

Barroso has promised to preserve Europe's social democratic values, protect jobs, reform the financial sector and its "unethical bonuses" and consult the European Parliament more on EU issues.

The assembly was once a toothless body, but over the years its powers in EU decision-making have increased greatly.

Barroso also promised to fight "ugly nationalism" that questions "our achievements in European integration" and to appoint commissioners for immigration, climate change, justice and human rights _ issues seen as close to the hearts of many Europeans.

The EU leaders settled on Barroso in June after European Parliament elections saw gains for conservative forces in some of Europe's largest economies _ an outcome seen as a vindication company bailouts and fiscal stimulus packages to combat the recession.

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