MEPs today approved the new Juncker Commission in Strasbourg by 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions.
The 28 men and women will take up their posts on 1st November, subject to approval by the Heads of States of member states.
The result shows how this year’s European Elections have left the Parliament with a greater variety of political opinions as two significant groups, the Greens and the EFDD, voted against. By comparison with the vote ten years ago (when it was revealed that one of the candidates was a convicted embezzler), only 149 people voted against.
But the voting lists showed a division in the British Conservatives who, over the years, have faced internal wranglings over their support for the European Union, with some voting for the Commission, some against and some following the whips and abstaining.
Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan tweeted:
— Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) October 22, 2014
He was referring to the gushing praise which the leader of the European Liberals gave to the integrational direction of the European Union and that the increase in the vote of Eurosceptic MEPs had not been represented in the make up of the Commission.
In his opening statement on Wednesday morning, President-elect of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker outlined a number of changes to portfolios as requested by committees after the hearings of Commissioners-designate.
And he stressed that he had had to “fight” to get enough women on board his college but admitted that “9 women out of 28 Commissioners is still pathetic.”
Leader of the ECR group, London MEP Syed Kamall told the parliament,
“We welcome the fact that the structure does not look like desperately seeking 27 places for 27 people,” praising Mr Juncker for having come up “with an integrated structure focused on outcomes.” He also welcomed proposals to cut red tape, and focus on the digital market, energy security and the subsidiarity principle. “We are disappointed that you did not support Parliament’s request to have a budgetary control commissioner”, Mr Kamall said, criticising the appointment of Mr Moscovici. “We will abstain and confront you with the challenges of the future”, he added.
Unsurprisingly, EFDD group leader Nigel Farage confirmed that his group would vote against the Commission.
“We will vote against this anti-democratic form of government” he told MEPs, adding that “This will be the last European Commission that governs Great Britain, because at the end of the five years, we will be out of here”