Friday, 15 January 2010

My Twitter coverage of the Ciolos hearing

I have covered the first 90 minutes of the hearing of the designated Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş on Twitter.

My tweets can be found here. EurActive France was tweeting, too.

My impressions:
  • Cioloş remained overly general for the whole time, both on goals and on current policies, and he didn't seemed to be briefed on technical details or was ignoring them. He gave slight hints that he is not against GMO in agriculture.
  • As a person, he isn't very impressive and I have doubts that he can stand against the agriculture lobby (Update: as I would hope) or defend the EU in WTO negotations (Update: as the lobby might hope).
  • But he understands and speaks English and French, although he preferred to speak Romanian most of the time. When attacked, he switched to Romanian.
Not sure he's a good choice.

Update: Update in the text thanks to this remark on Twitter.


Martin said...

He fits perfectly into the EU's agricultural domain. I suppose he won't be much of a pain in the national govt's rear ends considering his background of broad agricultural experiences and his insight knowledge of EU funds.^^

Jack Thurston said...

If Ciolos got a bigger round of applause at the end of his hearing than any other Commissioner-Designate this week it must be because European Parliament is be rubbing its hands with glee at having such an inexperienced and undynamic Commissioner to work with under the new co-decision rules.

If it was sometimes said of Mrs Fischer Boel "you are no Franz Fischler" then I think we can safely say of Ciolos, "you are no Fischer Boel". I was pleased to see the back of Mrs Fischer Boel but I perhaps should have been more careful of what I wished for.

Besisdes the lack-lustre performance by Ciolos (both in terms of style and command of the policy issues), I thought the hearing was very revealing of the reactionary stance of the EP AGRI committee. What came through loud and clear is the extent to which its members are stooges of the farm union / agribusiness lobby that has just two priorities: keep the subsidy money flowing and keep as much food from entering the EU from overseas as possible.

On the positive side, I don't actually think that the future of the CAP will be decided on the basis of a careful consideration of the policy itself. It will be a budget fight, pure and simple. And we'll soon see who the Commission 'big beasts' are (note: Ciolos will not number among them) and what others in the Parliament who aren't so tied to the farm lobby would like to spend Europe's money on.

Overall, a depressing reality check for those who'd like to see the CAP fundamentally reformed.

Julien Frisch said...

Thanks for sharing your point of view, Jack, your comment has a lot more substance than my post! :-)