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Juncker wins EP election as new European Commission chief

English.news.cn   2014-07-16 01:26:50
• EP voted Tuesday in favor of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new President of the European Commission.
 
• The former Luxembourg Prime Minister will take office on Nov. 1, 2014 for a five year term.
• Juncker's nomination was controversial, and was strongly opposed by British PM David Cameron.
 
 

STRASBOURG, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The European Parliament (EP) voted Tuesday in favor of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new President of the European Commission (EC).

Juncker won 422 votes in the 751 seat EP, giving him comfortably more than the required absolute majority of 376 votes.

The former Luxembourg Prime Minister will take office on Nov. 1, 2014 for a five year term, replacing the outgoing Jose Manuel Barroso.

Juncker was the lead candidate of the centre-right European People's Party, which won the most seats in May's European elections.

This is the first time in the history of the European Union (EU) that the EP has directly elected -- and not merely approved -- the Commission President following a proposal by the European Council.

New rules for appointing the EU's top civil servant were laid down in the Lisbon Treaty.

Juncker's nomination, however, was controversial, and was strongly opposed by British Prime Minster David Cameron.

Some 422 MEPs voted in favor, with 250 against, and 47 abstentions. The total number of votes cast was 729, 10 of which were not valid.

Before the vote, Juncker presented his general program for the Commission in a final debate with EP's political group leaders.

Setting out his agenda, Juncker said his aim was for a social market economy, including a 300 billion euros investment package to boost growth, employment and competitiveness.

He said the focus of this investment should be in infrastructure, notably broadband and energy networks as well as transport infrastructure in industrial centers. The program should also focus on education, research and innovation, and renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Juncker also stated "maximum transparency" was needed in the EU's free trade negotiations with the United States, to allay people's suspicions.

In the same vein, he said that the "troika," namely the EC, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank together -- which has been in charge of drawing up bailouts for stricken eurozone countries -- must be made more democratic, with more parliamentary scrutiny.

He also promised a fair negotiation with Cameron regarding the British government's stated desire to repatriate some powers that have been transferred to Brussels. But he was firm in stating that EU rules on the free movement of workers will not be changed, even though he accepted that national authorities have the right to tackle abuses of welfare systems, for example.

However, he said free movement should be seen as an opportunity for Europe rather than a threat.

On the Commission's relations with the European Council and EP, he said: "Let's see what we can achieve in practice and not bore our citizens with inter-institutional quarrelling."

Ultimately the job of EC was not to "Europeanize" every small problem in the EU but focus on the big issues, Juncker said.

Related:

News Analysis: Real work starts for Juncker

STRASBOURG, July 15 (Xinhua) -- As expected former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has been voted President of the European Commission (EC).

In a vote in the European Parliament (EP) on Tuesday Juncker won 422 votes with 250 against. Full Story

Editor: Yamei Wang
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