Jose Manuel Barroso has gained a formidable new rival in his bid for re-election as president of the European Commission – the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer. Dziennik reportsthat although Mr Fischer hasn’t yet confirmed he wants the job, his candidacy is supported by the Greens, whose leader in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, said yesterday that, “a European mandate for Joschka wouldn’t be a bad thing.” For ideological reasons, he would also be easier to swallow for the Socialists and the smaller leftwing groupings, suggests the Warsaw daily.

Even if the incumbent wins the battle against Mr Fischer, his position during his second term in office is likely to be significantly weaker than during the first one. “Barroso arouses no enthusiasm because he remains a bland, uninspired figure, unable to make difficult decisions,” Daniel Gross at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels told Dziennik. Elected by a small majority, Mr Barroso would be even more dependent on the European ‘big players’ – the leaders of Germany, France and the UK – who, according to the paper, wielded the real power in the EU during the past five years of his tenure anyway.