Our new Commissioners - as penned by Parliament's Committees - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Our new Commissioners - as penned by Parliament's Committees

Monday, 15 February 2010
Last week saw the European Parliament elect into office the new Commission headed by José Manuel Barroso. This concluded the long four-month process in which Commissioners were proposed by their country, named by the Council in cooperation with José Manuel Barroso, assigned by the Commission President to portfolios and finally heard and scrutinised by Parliament's committees.

After each hearing, the head of the Committee who chaired the session was duty-bound to send the Parliament's president an "evaluation" letter expressing the Committee's opinion vis-à-vis the Commissioner-designate.

Before the vote, the letters were published on the Parliament website's hearing section. Here we display a few select comments and key words from each of the committees' letters to present the new Commission team.

Joaquin ALMUNIA (ES, Vice-President and Competition Portfolio): "Committed to send all legislative, non-legislative and pre-legislative documents on competition matters to the European Parliament at an early stage. [...] He […] gave a convincing impression of his aptitude to be a member of the College of Commissioners."

László ANDOR (HU, Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Portfolio): "Considers his first priority to find a balanced way out of the social crisis by stopping the rise in unemployment and by helping the jobless return to work [...]."

Catherine ASHTON (UK, Vice-President and High Representative of Foreign Affairs): "Showed a genuine desire to work closely with Parliament in elaborating a truly common EU foreign policy [...] There is no denying that in comparison to her first address to the committee, on 2 December, Ms Ashton has shown better grasp of the issues within her extremely wide and challenging portfolio."

Michel BARNIER (FR, Internal Market and Services): "Convinced the Members of his skills as a politician and an articulate communicator, with a clear and political vision for the future development of the Internal Market [... He] reaffirmed his conviction that ethics should be at the heart of financial markets."

Dacian COILOŞ (RO, Agriculture and Rural Development): "His many years of experience in agriculture and his responsibilities in the offices he held previously in the Romanian Government and in other public services in this field mean that he is particularly well qualified for the post of Commissioner for Agriculture."

John DALLI (MT, Health and Consumer Policy): "Made a positive and constructive impression and demonstrated firm convictions on certain issues, while evading clear answers on others. He showed a pragmatic and open approach."

Maria DAMANAKI (GR, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries): "Gave clear and convincing answers to most of the questions [...] Although her institutional commitments toward the EP still lack specificity [...] this reluctance appears to be due to horizontal constraints imposed upon candidates."

Karel DE GUCHT (BE, Trade): "The Hearing was conducted in a cordial and positive atmosphere and most of the comments made by the Commissioner-designate made a very favourable impression upon the majority of Members present."

Štefan FÜLE (CZ, Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy): "Clearly stated the different nature of Enlargement and Neighbourhood policies [... He] proved a keen supporter of the enlargement strategy as beneficial to both enlargement countries and the EU [...]. All political groups, with the exception of GUE, consider he has the adequate grasp of the issues within his portfolio."

Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN (IE, Research, Innovation and Science): "While being new to the field, she appeared to be knowledgeable and well prepared, while also willing to listen and discuss possible points of disagreements."

Kristalina GEORGIEVA (BG,International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response): "Acquitted herself outstandingly well [...]. Her answers were coherent and showed extensive knowledge and good communication skills as well as the impartiality necessary for the portfolio."

Johannes HAHN (AT, Regional policy): "Stated he would pursue an open door policy to members of the committee and be ready to exchange views both in formal and informal meetings, and make sure there is maximum transparency [...]"

Connie HEDEGAARD (DK, Climate Action): "Members strongly agreed with her statement on a need for a new green economy with europe as the leading region in the world [...], thereby creating many new green jobs [... She] made a determined and positive impression and demonstrated a strong and ambitious approach."

Siim KALLAS (EE, Vice-President and Transport Portfolio): "Displayed a high level of European commitment, excellent communication skills and a welcome degree of candour."

Neelie KROES (NL, Vice-President and Digital Agenda Portfolio): "Has shown her integrity, independence, experience, European commitment and professional aptitude in general [...] Some groups were concerned about her understanding and vision with respect to several topics [but] the further informal meeting provided Members with reassurance regarding her aptitude for the portfolio."

Janusz LEWANDOWSKI (PL, Budget and Financial Programming): "Stated that the future financial framework should be far more flexible than the current one in order to ensure the capacity of the EU to react to unforeseen events."

Cecilia MALMSTRÖM (SE, Home Affairs): "Showed a clear commitment to make a general and objective assessment of the internal security related (EU) policies [...] so that they could become consistent, effective and comply with the security needs of EU citizens as well as well as the fundamental rights of data protection [... She] is a promising candidate."

Günther OETTINGER (DE, Energy):"It was particularly welcomed that he is convinced of the European added value of energy policy as well as his commitment to defend independently European interests."

Andris PIEBALGS (LV, Development): "Stated that [...] he would give real political momentum to establishing a European approach between member states in their development policies [...] He acquitted himself well in all respects [and] gave an optimistic and dynamic perspective."

Janez POTOČNIK (SL, Environment): "[He] placed implementation and enforcement high in his priorities [and] the Committee is confident he will develop a clearer vision of the concrete actions to be taken."

Viviane REDING (LU, Vice-President and Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Portfolio): "Affirmed that law was what makes the Union. She was enthusiastic about utilising the opportunities of the Lisbon Treaty to the full [...]."

Olli REHN (FI, Economic and Monetary Affairs): "Has the experience and personal qualifications needed. However, ECON members expressed their wish that at future meetings Mr Rehn would be more forthcoming with his views on matters that are pertinent to the portfolio."

Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ (SK, Vice-President and Inter-institutional Relations and Administration Portfolio): "Proved, beyond any doubt, his thorough knowledge and good practical experience of the functioning of the EU institutional set-up and administration […] Quite often avoided clear answers, the future seat of the Parliament being a good case in point."

Algirdas ŠEMETA (LT, Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud): "CONT criticised the approach of Mr Barroso in creating the situation where the portfolios do not match the competences of the committees [...] and trusts that Mr Šemata's communication skills will improve over time. […] Despite the misgivings cited, since the Hearing he has shown a commendable willingness to listen to Parliament's concerns."

Antonio TAJANI (IT, Vice-President and Industry and Entrepreneurship Portfolio): "His understanding of the issues and problems raised was appreciated. However, certain political groups expressed reservations on the perceived lack of depth in explaining how general political commitments will be transformed into actual policy instruments [...] Mr Tajani was perceived [...] as a skilled communicator and a dedicated European politician."

Androulla VASSILIOU (CY, Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth): "Her answers to questions on the subjects were constructive and helpful . However, they were often general rather than specific in nature, and included few detailed commitments [...]."

Click here to read the full letters of the Parliamentary Committees.

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2 Comment(s):
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Helpful and informative blog! Thank you!

Blogger Andrew said...
My pleasure!

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