Written by Alexandra Devantier and Kristina Svobodova
The new Juncker Commission has now been approved by the European Parliament and will start its term of office on 1 November 2014. In the European Parliament’s vote on Wednesday 23 October, the incoming Commission gained 423 votes in favour, 209 against, while 67 MEPs abstained. But do you know how these results compared to votes in the past? Which Commission obtained the strongest vote from the Parliament? Let’s have a look.
The Santer Commission (January 1995 – March 1999)
The first Commission subject to ‘hearings’ was that led by Jacques Santer in 1995 when the European Parliament had finally obtained the power to formally vote on the appointment of the new Commission with the Maastricht Treaty. Once the hearings of Commissioners-designate had been held and Jacques Santer presented the political guidelines of the nominated Commission on 17 January 1995, the EP voted on its Decision approving the nominated Commission on 18 January 1995. The Santer Commission was approved with 417 votes for, 104 votes against and 59 abstentions and held office until 15 March 1999. Although the result of the roll-call votes showed strong support from the EP, this was the first European Commission to resign due to allegations of corruption after four years in office.
The Prodi Commission (March 1999 – October 2004)
Following the resignation of the Santer Commission a special European Council was held in Berlin and Romano Prodi was asked to accept the position of president of the next European Commission. The European Parliament approved the nomination of Romano Prodi for the remainder of the term of office with its resolution of 5 May 1999. After the hearings of the Commissioners-designate held between 30 August and 7 September 1999 and the statement of Romano Prodi in plenary session on 14 September 1999, the EP approved the new Commission on 15 September 1999 with 510 votes for, 51 votes against and 28 abstentions. This result was the strongest vote for a Commission to date.
The first Barroso Commission (November 2004 – October 2009)
The first Barroso Commission took office on 22 November 2004 after being approved by the European Parliament on 18 November 2004. The hearings were held between 27 September and 8 October 2004 and the designated President came before the Parliament on 26 October 2004 “to request approval for the future college”. The vote was due to be held on the following day but because of several criticisms from the EP during the debate following his statement, José Manuel Barroso stated on 27 October that: “I have come to the conclusion that if a vote were to take place today, the outcome would not be positive for the European institutions or for the European project. In these circumstances I have decided not to submit a new Commission for your approval today.”
José Manuel Barroso once more went in front of the Parliament on 17 November 2004 and the EP approved its decision on the election of the Commission on 18 November 2004 with 478 votes for, 84 votes against and 98 abstentions.
The second BARROSO Commission (November 2009 -October 2014)
The EP gave its approval to José Manuel Barroso as President for a second term on 16 September 2009 after he had presented his programme for the next five-year term. The hearings were held between 11 January and 3 February 2010. After the statement of the President-elect of the Commission and the debate on the presentation of the College of Commissioners and the statement on the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission on 9 February 2010, the EP voted for the appointment of the Commission as follows: 488 votes for, 137 against and 72 abstentions.
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As the number of MEPs differed every times, it would be interesting and useful to see the percentage of pro/con/abstention votes in order to compare.
Santer: in favour 71,9 %, against 17,9%, abstention 10,2%
Prodi: in favour 86,6%, against 8,7%, abstention 4,8%
Barroso I: in favour 72,4%, against 12,7%, abstention 14,9%
Barroso II: in favour 70%, against 19,7%, abstention 10,3%
Juncker: in favour 60,5%, against 29,9%, abstention 9,6%
(not counting the absent MEPs)
Thanks a lot!