The European Parliament has endorsed European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, for a second term in office. Barroso has pledged a stronger and more fiscally responsible Europe during his next five years at the head of the European Union executive arm.
There were no surprises in the European Parliament vote in Strasbourg, France, which handed incumbent European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso a second term in office. The former Portuguese prime minister had been the only candidate for the job - and was endorsed by all 27 members of the European Union.
That does not mean everybody supports Barroso. While 382 lawmakers of the 736-member parliament endorsed his candidacy, 219 voted against him and another 117 abstained.
In a speech following the vote, Barroso pledged to build a stronger parliamentary democracy in Europe, to protect jobs and Europe's social democratic values, and to reform the bloc's financial sector, hard hit by the economic crisis.
"I believe the European parliament and the European Commission as typical community institutions have a special duty towards our citizens," said Jose Manuel Barroso. "And that is exactly what I said I will do. That is exactly what I will do [build a] stronger Europe for freedom and solidarity."
Since Barroso began as EU commission chief in 2004, the bloc has grown from 25 to 27 members, after Romania and Bulgaria came on board. Under his stewardship, the European Union has adopted an ambitious climate-change program that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent or more by 2020. He has also pushed through cuts in mobile phone roaming charges - a move popular with EU citizens.
But the bloc has still not adopted the Lisbon treaty, aimed to reform and streamline EU institutions and many Europeans consider the European Union to be remote and unresponsive to their needs. Barroso will now pick a new 26-member team of EU commissioners who will take office in January.