Tuesday 5 January 2010

Hearing the new EU Commissioners (next week)

My blog statistics have exploded yesterday and continue to be comparatively hectic today, but I hope things will go back to normal soon since this kind of attention is not what I was or am looking for.

As usual, I tried to report about what I read, see, and think, yet the story turned unnecessary large for this kind of minor issue, especially since to my knowledge Mr Bean never appeared on the front page of the presidency website and never was replacing a picture of of Zapatero as some media report or interpret.

So while some still think a British comedian appearing on a non-permanent sub-site of the Spanish EU Council presidency website is big news despite the right demand that possible loopholes need to be fixed to protect users from unwanted external influences, others like Erik Wesselius on Twitter and Stephen Spillane in his blog remind that next week we will have the hearings of the designated European Commissioners.

Okay, it is not absolutely sure that this will actually happen because the impoverished Brussels officials threaten to go on strike during that time. Still, I hope they are not doing it, slowing down a democratic process that has already been delayed in a grey legal area with the old caretaker Commission being in office for several months by now.

In case the officials might decide not to go on strike against our citizens' parliament or the Commission but maybe just to pay a friendly visit to the Council where the member states don't want to raise the incomes of those living below the poverty line within the EU institutions, there is a wonderful European Parliament websites giving all the necessary background information on the Commission nomination procedure and on the CVs of the designated Commissioners.

In addition, there is also a list of written answers the Commissioners have given to questions put before them ahead of the hearings:
  • Joaquín ALMUNIA: Competition. Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • László ANDOR: Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. (answers)
  • Baroness Catherine ASHTON: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • Michel BARNIER: Internal Market and Services. (answers)
  • Dacian CIOLOS: Agriculture and Rural Development. (answers)
  • John DALLI: Health and Consumer Policy. (answers)
  • Maria DAMANAKI: Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. (answers)
  • Karel DE GUCHT: Trade. (answers)
  • Štefan FÜLE: Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. (answers)
  • Maire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN: Research and Innovation. (answers)
  • Johannes HAHN: Regional Policy. (answers)
  • Connie HEDEGAARD: Climate Action. (answers)
  • Rumiana JELEVA: International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. (answers)
  • Siim KALLAS: Transport. Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • Neelie KROES: Digital Agenda. Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • Janusz LEWANDOWSKI: Budget and Financial Programming. (answers)
  • Cecilia MALMSTRÖM: Home Affairs. (answers)
  • Günter OETTINGER: Energy. (answers)
  • Andris PIEBALGS: Development. (answers)
  • Janez POTOČNIK: Environment. (answers)
  • Viviane REDING: Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • Olli REHN: Economic and Monetary Affairs. (answers)
  • Maro ŠEFČOVIČ: Vice-President of the Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration. (answers)
  • Algirdas ŠEMETA: Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud. (answers)
  • Antonio TAJANI: Industry and Entrepreneurship. Vice-President of the Commission. (answers)
  • Androulla VASSILIOU: Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. (answers)
I didn't have the time to go through them by now, but I suppose that some of the answers might be of interest both for European as well as for national audiences. I'll try to have a look tomorrow.

The interesting question still is: Will MEPs try to prevent one or another European Commissioner as they did with Rocco Buttiglione in 2004 or will all Commissioners pass so that the new Commission can take office as soon as possible?

Other blogs on this subject: Matizandrea's blog.


Anonymous said...

Karel De Gucht would be a likely candidate to run into trouble, a trade commissioner rumoured to have perpetrated insider trading, a very striking miscasting. Never understood why after Van Rompuy Belgium should reel in this top job... probably to do with De Gucht and Vrehofstadt's close ties.

Eurosocialiste said...

I agree with you. There are more important things to talk about than the Mr Bean story. It's unfortunate to see that this type of story gets much more attention than real important issues. But I guess that's the way media work. At least it dragged attention to the Spanish presidency and to the blogosphere, so not bad overall.

Unknown said...

On De Gucht, he has already be heard by the Ep when replacing Louis Michel so I am not too sure how vehement the EP can be with him...rumours are just that, nothing more. On the EP hearings, pls note some political parties such as the S&D are asking for questions that should be asked (link unsure but follow @TonyRobinson on Twitter)