The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has decided to ask the EU’s new ambassadors to China, Georgia, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan and the EU Special Representative (EUSR) to Sudan to come in for hearings. The aim is to check for knowledge of the dossier.
Now, the committee has not demanded hearings of all the nominees for diplomatic jobs. So two interpretations are possible – either the committee members consider those particular candidates problematic, or we are looking at a list of foreign policy priorities. If the latter is true, then the committee has shown considerable insight. However, for some reason Afghanistan is missing.
The vote for approval of the whole college of commissioners will probably be postponed for 9 February. The new Bulgarian commissioner designate, Kristalina Georgieva, will likely be heard in the European Parliament on 3 February.
Meanwhile the second hearing on Neelie Kroes -commissioner-designate for the Digital Agenda, has gone well. This means that probably the only replacement will be the Bulgarian Georgieva, and the Barroso II team will be approved.
The former commissioner designate, Mrs. Jeleva, will step down from her position as Bulgarian minister of foreign affairs.
There were four important hearings of commissioner designates in the European Parliament on Monday.
The summaries from the hearings of the candidates:
I was able to follow personally the hearing of Mrs. Catherine Ashton. She was very well prepared, and failed to answer only a few questions (one question was about the transatlantic market initiative, which is, well, not mainstream to say the least and bears a lot of criticism). Euractiv and EUobserver provide their accounts of her hearing.
Today I will follow with great attention the presentation of the Bulgarian commissioner designate – Mrs. Rumiana Jeleva. You can also follow her hearing online here.
Posted in Budget and Finance, Enterprise, EU Reform, Institutional Affairs, Internal Market, Regional Policy
Tagged Andris Piebalgs, Catherine Ashton, commissioner designates, European Commission, European Parliament, hearings, Janusz Lewandowski, Olli Rehn
Euractiv reports that according to a source in the group of the Alliance for the Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament has said that if Bulgarian commissioner designate Rumiana Jeleva were to seem problematic following the hearings, a decision would be taken to postpone the vote on the whole Barroso II team, scheduled for 26 January. Instead of risking voting out the entire EU executive over one candidate, changes would be made, the source said.
The spokesman of the European People’s Party, Antoine Ripoll, says that “the policy of the new [Bulgarian] government against corruption is pretty drastic (…) this creates reactions, and one should seek there the explanations for those attacks.”
Dnevnik reports that Joseph Daul has acknowledged that there will be “problems” during the hearings for the Bulgarian commissioner designate, Rumiana Jeleva. Daul has said that the EPP is in a difficult position due to the “gossips” about Jeleva and her husband. Joseph Daul believes that Jeleva is the target of unfair attacks. This is an unpleasant development indeed.
Members of the European Parliament believe that the new European Commission will be in place somewhere in the beginning of February, rather than on January, 1st.
One of the top issues during the hearings will be the EU strategy for exit from the economic and financial crisis.