Barroso loses out in race for top NATO job


  By a Newsnet reporter
The President of the EC, Jose Manuel Barroso has lost out in the race to become the next Secretary General of NATO.
According to Norwegian news outlet Aftenposten, former Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg will become NATO’s next Secretary General and is expected to be appointed when the organisation’s foreign ministers meet in Brussels in April.

Stoltenberg’s bid, despite Norway being a nuclear free member of NATO, was reportedly backed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.  Cameron joined French President Francois Hollande, US president Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in supporting the Norwegian’s candidacy.

The news will be a devastating blow to Mr Barroso after rumours swept Brussels that the Portuguese politician was seeking the support of Cameron in his NATO candidacy bid. 

Barroso recently created controversy after appearing to take sides in the Scottish independence referendum when in a BBC interview he claimed a newly independent Scotland might find it “impossible” to remain inside the EU.  The comments, in which he also compared Scotland to Kosovo, were slammed by academics and other European politicians and resulted in EC officials having to issue clarification statements.

Barroso, a former prime minister of Portugal, was chosen by EU heads of state and government and approved by the European Parliament as the 11th Commission president in 2004. After his centre-right EPP party won the European elections in 2009, Barroso secured the support of Parliament on 16 September 2009, for a second five-year mandate.

His tenure as the EC President comes to end this year and he was known to be desperate to replace outgoing Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO.

Barroso’s replacement as President of the EC will be determined after the Euro elections to be held in May.  His departure as EC President will be welcomed by most in the pro-independence camp who view his interventions into the referendum debate as, at best, unhelpful.

His failure to win the backing of David Cameron in his NATO bid suggests that any quid-pro-quo agreement, imagined or otherwise, is now dead.  Whether this results in more helpful statements from his office over the EU membership of states such as Catalonia and Scotland remains to be seen.