The European Parliament elected the new European Commission by 488 votes to 137, with 72 abstentions, in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The vote took the form of a single ballot on the whole College of Commissioners, consisting of one Commissioner from each of the 27 EU Member States.
The new Commission will stay in office until 31 October 2014. By way of comparison, the first Barroso Commission was voted into office in November 2004 by 449 votes to 149, with 82 abstentions.
Ahead of the election, the EPP, S&D and ALDE groups announced that they would vote in favour of the college of Commissioners. The Greens, GUE/NGL and EFD groups said they would vote against the new college and the ECR group announced it would abstain.
Parliament's President, Jerzy Buzek said, "This is the first time in our history that we are appointing the European Commission in our capacity as a real co-legislator. This is the dawn of a new decade, with a new way of working for the European institutions".
Accountability to Parliament is "crucially important for the Commission's democratic legitimacy", stressed Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The present exceptional times, with the economic crisis, climate change and energy security issues, meant that now was "a time for boldness". We need "strong European institutions" to tackle these challenges, he argued, and it was up to the Commission and Parliament acting together "to ensure that the EU is more than the sum of its parts".
The election vote was preceded by hearings of the Commissioners-designate organised by the committees of Parliament in January and February. Each committee sent an evaluation letter on the respective Commissioner-designate to the Conference of Presidents (a body consisting of the EP President and the political group leaders). All these evaluations were positive, and on 4 February the Conference of Presidents gave the go-ahead for the vote to take place.
An overview of the new EU Commissioners can be downloaded from: