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European commissioner hearings

Cosy deal ensures problematic candidates get green light in spite of theatrics


The relevant European Parliament committees this evening voted on the remaining candidates for the European Commission for whom decision had been outstanding. The Greens/EFA group expressed regret that a pre-agreed deal between the bigger groups in the European Parliament meant some majorly problematic candidates were approved, despite not having resolved the issues they were facing. Commenting on the outcome, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts stated:

“While this evening's votes added some theatrics to the process of appointing the Commission, the cosy deal between the big political groups ensured the result was never really in doubt. Faced with various candidates who either had major question marks about conflicts of interest hanging over them or had failed to convince on their competence, MEPs from the bigger groups adopted a 'three monkeys' approach: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. The outcome is bad for European democracy and undermines the credibility of the European Parliament as a pillar in that democracy to check and balance the other institutions.

"Our group believes Miguel Arias Cañete has utterly failed to remove doubts about conflicts of interest related to him and his family, which make him totally unsuitable for the post of commissioner in charge of the EU's energy and climate policy. Question marks also remain about the competence and independence of Lord Hill to oversee the financial services sector and the capital markets union, and we regret that he too was ushered through. While our group was also unconvinced that Alenka Bratušek had the required competence to fulfil her post, it is clear that her candidacy was ultimately sunk by the fact she is from the wrong political family. Her replacement must be judged on competence and independence and not on their party membership card."

(1) The responsible committees voted on: Miguel Arias Cañete (commissioner-designate for energy and climate action); Alenka Bratušek (designated commission vice-president for energy union); Jyrki Katainen (designated commission vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness); Jonathan Hill (commissioner-designate for financial services and capital markets); Pierre Moscovici (commissioner-designate for economic and financial affairs); Valdis Dombrovskis (commissioner-designate for social dialogue and the Euro)