Across Europe, politicians of various political stripes are stamping their feet in impotent fury. José Manuel Barroso, the centre-right Portuguese leader who has served as European Commission president since 2004, seems strongly placed to secure a second five-year term. His enemies and critics would love to stop him, but all they can do is boo from the sidelines like disappointed children.
Barroso’s adversaries, especially on the left, have only themselves to blame. If they wanted to torpedo his reappointment, they should have put forward a candidate for Commission president in next month’s European Parliament elections. But petty rivalries, unseemly personal ambitions and a good deal of incoherent political tactics put paid to that. By contrast, Europe’s centre-right parties rallied behind Barroso, even if some supporters held their noses when they agreed to back him.