A lesson well recited

Sven Giegold, Jean Lambert and Monika Vana assess commissioner-designate Dombrovskis

What is your overall impression of how commissioner-designate Dombrovskis performed?

Mr. Dombrovskis appeared as a good pupil ready to implement Mr. Juncker’s Growth and Jobs agenda, but also as someone who would make an effort to push the social line. He had an average knowledge of the portfolio and was generally aware of issues. He appeared weaker though when going deeper into the content. He was better on Euro-related matters than on the European Semester. Throughout his hearing, he unfortunately had a tendency to become vague on specific matters.

Were there particular issues or answers that stood out – either in a positive or negative sense?

Mr. Dombrovskis must have broken some sort of record, as he made an abundant use of the words "social", "better balance", "inequality", “social poverty” and "Social Partners". However, saying them is one thing. Making commitments is another. He used them so much that perhaps, he confused Social Partners with Civil Society – two very different things. We hope that nevertheless his door will remain open for NGOs and civil society.

Although he evaded questions and avoided making concrete commitment, he was strongly pro-European. He admitted to certain mistakes in Latvian reforms while continuing to claim that they went hand in hand with a social package to make them bearable. Information we have on the Latvian reforms however indicates that cuts were applied to everyone from poorest to richest.

Do you think he is suitable for the portfolio for which they have been proposed?

He does make an effort. On economic Euro-related matters he could be alright, although he will remain a true "Juncker-pupil". He committed, at least orally, to listen to social partners but did not commit to their law-making role. We welcome his stance on social indicators and on the need to balance economic and social aspects in the European Semester. This is in line with Commissioner-designate Thyssen.

Regarding anti-crisis policies and the restructuring of the Troika, he promises to use flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact and to strengthen social indicators. However, this promise is only verbal and has yet to be backed by actions.

Out of ten, what marks would you give his hearing performance?