(Strasbourg) An “opportunity for a political debate”, a “chance of a live exchange on topical issues” regarding European integration. José Manuel Barroso judges with these words the first “question time” in the history of the European Parliament. The procedural novelty, that has been tested today, is that, during the session, the party leaders ask questions to the president of the EU Commission for half an hour on any issue whatsoever, then, in the second half an hour, any MEP can ask questions on the previous issues, so that the head of the EU Executive can prepare an answer.

The People’s Party, for example, questioned Barroso on the enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty and the appointment of the future Commission. The Pse pressed him on the problem of unemployment (“if we had not developed the EU action plan, things would be much worse”, Barroso replied). Other questions were focussed on German national support to the car industry, the Copenhagen Conference, appointments under the Treaty, human rights and democracy in Hungary.