Statement by the President-designate of the Commission

Mr President, Mr Barroso, our president Mr Schulz has already said that the Group of the Party of European Socialists is only now forming its opinion, since this is done on the basis of facts and not of prejudices. I cannot, however, hide the fact that there are a number of highly critical points and that there is certainly a lot of distrust and a lot of criticism that I would like to clearly underline here and now.The first point, which you can do nothing about personally, is the whole selection process. The shadow of that process has now fallen on you, and we have already made clear that this process, where, after so many names have been mentioned, one particular name emerges that was not mentioned at all in the beginning, is for us not an acceptable selection process. Perhaps, on the strength of your experience over the last few weeks, you can help us to at last bring about a different attitude in the relationship between Council, Parliament and Commission, especially with a view to and in connection with the new Constitution. That relationship has been upset by this very selection process in the last few months.Secondly, my colleague Mr Wiersma will be speaking about foreign policy, but, Mr Barroso, at the hearing you failed to convince us about your behaviour in connection with the Iraq war. I am not concerned about the past, but about the future. How will you or would you act in a similar situation? Would you allow things to go on in a similar way, with various Heads of Government acting as they did in this case without waiting for the Commission or the Council to coordinate? How will you prevent us again blindly going along with the USA´s decisions, decisions, moreover, taken on the basis of false documents? The quite crucial question, however – and here, too, your answer so far has been completely unsatisfactory – is what European social model you stand for. You say you stand for one. You stress the importance of public services. You have not said you favour framework directives, you have not said that in this Europe public services should be protected, expanded and strengthened in the public interest. What you understand a social Europe to be falls short of our expectations. The same applies for jobs. Many people in this Europe fear that jobs are being lost as industries move to other parts of the world. What will you do to ensure that new jobs are created, that those jobs are preserved and that we remain competitive and at the same time a social Europe?Finally, we were sorely disappointed when you resigned as prime minister immediately after your nomination, as though you had already been elected. You said that 50% plus one vote would be enough for you. If that is enough for you, then sometimes you might get 50% less one vote for your proposals in this House. That would be a pity. I do not know whether you will be elected tomorrow, but it is highly likely. You must prepare yourself for the fact that we, in the Group of the Party of European Socialists, will always be fair, but there will be severe arguments over this social Europe. If you do not show yourself more favourable to this `social Europe´, there will be some severe controversy. I nevertheless wish you luck in this argument that you will have with our group if you are elected.