Friday, January 15, 2010

Hearings of Commissioner-designates

This week in Brussels we have begun the hearings for the 26 Commissioner-designates (more info here). These hearings happen once every 5 years and offer a real opportunity for MEPs to grill the would-be Commissioners on every aspect relevant to their future roles, including competence, personality and their opinions and plans for their respective portfolios. It is a really important time to make sure that these people are up to the task of directing the EU's policy in their given area. It is one of the European Parliament's most important powers of scrutiny and one that I take very seriously.

The hearings last for three hours each and I can tell you they are certainly gruelling events! Most relevant to my legislative work were the hearings for the Environment Commissioner-designate (Janez Potocnik), the Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner-designate (John Dalli) and the Climate Action Commissioner-designate (Connie Hedegaard). They all gave very good/solid performances and I would certainly have no hesitation in backing them for the job.

However I am aware that this has not been the case in all hearings so far with severe doubts expressed over the competence of at least one Commissioner-designate. There are still more hearings to go next week and then the EP as a whole will take a final vote on the Commission as a whole.

Watch this space....

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