Background

From the 29th September until the 7th October 2014 the European Parliament will question European Commissioners-designate to assess their suitability to fill the posts awarded to them by European Commission President-elect Juncker. Following these hearings, the political groups will assess the candidates ahead of a confirmation vote by the European Parliament in the plenary week beginning 20th October.

Here we intend to set out some of the ECR Group MEPs’ reactions to the Commissioners-designate hearings, and some other information that you may find useful. The ECR Group has already stated that it will not make a final decision on whether to support the College until after all of the hearings have been completed and the group has discussed the candidates in detail.

Follow the hearings online at the European Parliament website


Social Media

Follow the ECR on Twitter or Facebook for tweets and posts on the hearings.

Follow all ECR MEPs on Twitter by subscribing to our Twitter list and follow all comments on Twitter, using the Hashtag #EPhearings2014


Commissioners-designate

For more information on the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios, click here


ECR committee coordinators and post-holders

Download the PDF here


Resources

Proposals from the ECR group 2009-14 for the 2014 Commission Work Programme

 

Watch ECR Chairman Syed Kamall’s speech to President-elect Juncker before his confirmation vote

Click here to watch video

 


First impressions

Read comments from ECR Coordinators or their substitutes following each Commissioner-designate’s hearing here:

 

Karmenu Vella Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries – 29/9 @ 14.30

Bolesław Piecha MEP, member of the ENVI Committee: “We appreciated his committment to streamline EU legislation to take account of national laws that are already in place but it seems clear that he will have to learn a lot to be able to work on this dossier”

 

Cecilia Malmström Trade - 29/9 @ 14.30

Emma McClarkin MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the INTA Committee: “Malmstrom demonstrated she has the stamina for the job. We had hoped for stronger answers, more determination and greater detail but she has shown she is competent for the job and we expect more in future.”

 

Neven Mimica International Cooperation & Development – 29/9 @ 18.00

Bernd Lucke MEP, member of the ECON Committee: “EU added value in development policy, property rights, poverty pockets in middle income countries, trade not aid and immigration policy- only evasive answers and few new ideas! Mr Mimica wants to cooperate with the Ep and do his best but is that up to the job?”

 

Günther Oettinger Digital Economy & Society – 29/9 @ 18.00

Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the LIBE Committee: “I support Oettinger’s positivity on the need to stimulate not stifle SMEs with Regulation. I agree with Oettinger’s assessment that Cybercrime attacks are a serious threat to the EU which we must combat through raising EU network security. However, we still have outstanding questions as to the workability of the Right to be Forgotten.”

 

Carlos Moedas Research, Science and Innovation – 30/9 @ 09.00

Marek Gróbarczyk MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ITRE Committee: “Answers given by Mr Moedas to questions posed by MEPs were correct but also quite general. The commissioner-designate tried very hard not to go beyond what is considered to be EU political correctness. It obliges the ECR group to scrutinise his actions even more closely in the future.”

 

Vytenis Andriukaitis Health & Food Safety – 30/9 @ 09.00

Julie Girling MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ENVI Committee: “The hearing was a game of two halves, very solid on strictly health matters but with much work to be done on the remainder of the portfolio including food safety, food fraud, animal welfare and animal health.”

 

Dimitris Avramopoulos Migration & Home Affairs – 30/9 @ 13.30

Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the LIBE Committee: “Mr Avramopoulos demonstrated that he was not short on experience, knowledge or charm. However, we had hoped for more support on some of our key priorities, and greater detail and clarification on vital issues facing the EU such as security and immigration.”

 

Johannes Hahn European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations – 30/9 @ 13.30

Baastian Belder MEP, member of the AFET Committee: “Mr Hahn promises to work intensively on good relations between Turkey and Israel. We support that! He also shares our views on discrimination of Jews and Christians in Turkey. They deserve backing from EU side.”

 

Christos Stylianides Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management – 30/9 @ 18.00

Bernd Lucke MEP, member of the ECON Committee: “Mr Stylianides is a professional and determined – simply up to the job, unanimously approved by coordinators.”

 

Maroš Šefčovič Transport & Space – 30/9 @ 18.00

Roberts Zile MEP, ECR Coordinator in the TRAN Committee: “Šefčovič demonstrated good professionalism and experience as this will be his second portfolio. He has shown good knowledge of the transport and space matters. Positively, that Šefčovič is aware of the problems the EU has with Russia in terms of Siberian over-flights and closure of Russia’s market for European road transport operators, and he expressed his strong determination to work with Russia towards solutions. I also support his intention to firmly target the CEF funding for the main big cross-border transport projects of the core network. Finally, I appreciate his approach to work on enforcement and implementation of current rules rather than always go with a new legislation.”

 

Corina Creţu Regional Policy – 1/10 @ 09.00

Tomasz Poręba MEP, Vice-Chairman of the TRAN Committee: “Mrs Corina Cretu is a very good candidate for this portfolio as she is particulary sensible to the needs and problems of the Eastern and Central European countries where in fact the biggest part of the EU funds is directed. She was well prepared for the hearing with a very good knowledge of the portfolio. She is open to the cooperation and aware of the necessity to equate differences in economic and social development of the EU regions.”

 

James Nicholson MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the AGRI Committee: “I believe Mrs. Creţu put in a credible performance in front of the Committee on Regional Development today. As an experienced MEP she knows how the system works, but more importantly, the need for clear and regular lines of communication between the Commission and the Parliament. The Commissioner-designate was a little light on substance in some areas, but she demonstrated an impressive knowledge of EU regional support in my own constituency of Northern Ireland, and I was pleased to hear that she would continue these programmes under the new Commission.”

 

Marianne Thyssen Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility – 1/10 @ 09.00

Anthea McIntyre MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the EMPL Committee: “I was impressed with Commissioner Thyssen’s answer stressing the importance of creating a better climate for entrepreneurship to attract business to invest and grow.”

 

Jonathan Hill Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union – 1/10 @ 13.30

Kay Swinburne MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ECON committee: “The ECR group is fully behind Lord Hill’s candidature as Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union. He is a hugely intelligent individual who will make an excellent commissioner. His follow up hearing this week will be a great opportunity for him to continue to outline his vision for financial services legislation and the Capital Markets Union in particular, with more detail on those financial services issues that matter to the MEPs constituents and the entire EU.”

 

Vĕra Jourová Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality – 1/10 @ 13.30

 

Tibor Navracsics Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship – 1/10 @ 18.00

 

Miguel Arias Cañete Climate Action & Energy - 1/10 @ 18.00

Julie Girling MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ENVI Committee: “We regret that Mr Canete did not receive a positive evaluation today by Parliament. Unfortunately, judgments on competence were side-lined in favour of narrow political point-scoring. Despite showing he understood his portfolio and was aware of the many policy challenges he would face during his mandate, the S&D Group insisted on a delay until they received a ruling from the Legal Affairs committee on Mr Canete’s financial disclosures. Full disclosure is important to all political groups, but there seems no reason why Parliament should not have been able to judge his competence by the deadline set by itself of 24 hours after the hearing”

 

Marek Grobarczyk MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ITRE Committee: “Commissioner designate Canete displayed a thorough understanding of the issues in his portfolio, such as on energy security and the EU ETS. The fact that he is a former environment minister in Spain adds further weight to his candidature. We are therefore inclined to support his candidacy but look forward with interest to further analysis by the Legal Affairs Committee of his financial declaration.”

 

Pierre Moscovici Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs – 2/10 @ 09.00

Kay Swinburne MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ECON committee: “The ECR group was not convinced by Mr Moscovici’s performance in committee last week. A 53 second answer to a question on macroeconomic imbalances, a key area of economic governance that he is charged by President Junker in reforming was simply not enough. We will need more convincing in his written answers that he really is able to answer the tough questions that both the Eurozone and the EU as a whole is currently facing, and will continue to face over the next 5 years of his mandate.”

 

Phil Hogan Agriculture & Rural Development – 2/10 @ 09.00

James Nicholson, ECR Co-ordinator in the AGRI Committee: “Commissioner Designate Hogan showed good knowledge of the Agriculture brief and it is our belief that he is well qualified for the role. He understood and recognised our major concerns, notably simplification of the CAP, the new greening rules, equalisation of payments and electronic identification of sheep. These are all key priorities for the ECR group and we welcome his commitment to address them”

 

Kristalina Georgieva Budget & Human Resources - 2/10 @ 13.30

Bernd Kolmel MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the Budgets Committee: “I was impressed with Mrs Georgieva. She was confident, understood the main challenges, and it appears that she is very willing to work with the European Parliament. Although I have some reservations about her comments on exploring new EU own resources, I was very encouraged by her answers regarding the need for a move towards more results based policy making, and the need for greater transparency in how EU funds are used.”

 

Elżbieta Bieńkowska Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs – 2/10 @ 13.30

Andrzej Duda MEP, ECR Acting Co-ordinator in the IMCO Committee: ” Mrs Bieńkowska can be positively evaluated as in general she was answering the questions skilfully and with competence. Some could have doubts as in some cases she did not provide a precise answer to the questions, that could lead to give an impression of insufficient answers. However, the general positive impression and her concrete attitude towards the agreed policy realisation and the declared cooperation with the EP, allow to give her a positive evaluation.”

 

Margrethe Vestager Competition - 2/10 @ 18.00

Kay Swinburne MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ECON committee: “Margrethe Vestager spoke out against protectionism and in favour of strong competition. The Commissioner-designate demonstrated a refreshening respect for subsidiarity. Clearly a safe pair of hands for the important competition portfolio!”

 

Valdis Dombrovskis Euro & Social Dialogue – 6/10 @ 14.30

Kay Swinburne MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ECON committee: “Mr Dombrovskis spoke in great detail about his experiences in Latvia during the severe economic down turn his country faced while he was Prime Minister. He showed understanding of the issues he is likely to face in his new role and made very realistic comments on the future of the euro. While the ECR group may not agree with all of his solutions for the Eurozone, he seemed competent with regards to his ability to do the job of Commissioner for the Euro and social dialogue.”

 

Alenka Bratušek Energy Union – 6/10 @ 14.30

Marek Grobarczyk MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the ITRE Committee: “Commissioner-designate’s candidacy for the Energy Union, Alenka Bratusek, leaves a lot to be desired. Ms Bratusek struggled to give concrete answers to questions put forward to her by MEPs. Her knowledge of one of the key pieces of the EU energy legislation which is the regulation on security of gas supply was not sufficient and did not convince us. Surely, her vision of the Energy Union for the EU is at this stage non-existent.”

 

Andrus Ansip Digital Single Market – 6/10 @ 18.30

Andrzej Duda MEP, ECR Acting Coordinator in the IMCO Committee: “Mr Ansip showing a good knowledge of his brief and an interesting vision for completing the digital single market, as well as elaborating further on how he plans to work with his fellow Commissioners in the future. He answered all ECR questions in a satisfactory manner and both my colleagues from the industry and civil liberties committees were happy with his performance. Most ECR Members at the hearing also expressed satisfaction that Mr Ansip demonstrated a satisfactory ability, especially given that he is only just recovering from a bout of pneumonia. I very much look forward to working with him in future on what is a very interesting area of our work here in the European Parliament”

 

Federica Mogherini High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – 6/10 @ 18.30

Charles Tannock MEP, ECR Co-ordinator in the AFET Committee: “Overall Mrs Mogherini came across as honest and genuine, some of her answers were little non-specific, she has shown a willingness to engage with EP and was well-briefed.”

 

Jyrki Katainen Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness – 7/10 @ 09.00

 

Frans Timmermans Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights – 7/10 @ 09.00

Peter van Dalen MEP, ECR Coordinator in the PECH Committee: “Mr. Timmermans gave a good impression at his hearing. He realises that the EU can be seen as irritating by businesses including SMEs and so he has committed himself to cutting red tape. Citing the infamous proposals on hair-dressers and olive oil, he admitted that the EU has gone too far in the past and will work to make sure that similar mistakes are not made again. His commitment to working with national parliaments is welcome. We also welcome his support for traditional European values.”