Saturday 5 December 2009

Barroso II: Questions to the new Commissioners

When I blogged the list of new Commissioners designate, I said that we and MEPs now have to look at "who is not qualified for [the] portfolio, who has conflicts of interest and who has shown in the past that there should be doubts on whether s/he is the right person" to work in the new Commission or in the particular portfolio.

Brussels Sunshine has started to take a look at the candidates from a lobby and transparency point of view.

And serious doubts are voiced regarding Janez Potočnik, now Commissioner for Science and Research, and designated Commissioner for Environment. He is said to have favoured big business in his present portfolio and should therefore be asked whether he will continue in this direction in his new job, too.

A different strategy is pursued by the most important German blog

Ralf Bendrath, blogger at Netzpolitik and assistant to new Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, is asking readers to bring up questions for the new Commissioners who will work in or influence the field of internet and new communication technologies. These questions shall then be asked in the hearings in January.

The list of candidates they see as relevant is:
  • Michel Barnier: Internal Market and Services;
  • Neelie Kroes: Digital Agenda;
  • Viviane Reding: Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship;
  • Cecilia Malmström: Home Affairs;
  • John Dalli: Health and Consumer Policy;
  • Maire Geoghegan-Quinn: Research and Innovation;
  • Androulla Vassilou: Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Questions raised so far include important issues like SWIFT, ACTA, net neutrality and the use Open Access in public science - and I expect to list to grow longer over the next days.

I think both approaches, the critical one by Brussels Sunshine and the participative one at are excellent examples on how we can make sure that Commission hearings in January will not be about minor "argy-bargy", but about substantive issues on which the Commissioners will have to take a stand if they want to be nominated for the Barroso II Commission.