ECR group abstains on new European Commission and calls for reform of the confirmation procedure

Feb 09, 2010


9th February 2010 — The European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament has abstained in today’s vote on the new European Commission, saying that it cannot offer the same confidence in the new college as a whole as it has in President Barroso.

Following the vote, ECR chairman Michal Kaminski said:

“The ‘take it or leave it’ nature of the confirmation vote has meant that we must assess the college as a whole. This is lamentable because there were strong candidates who we would have endorsed, and weak candidates who we would have opposed.

“In today’s vote we have signalled our support for President Barroso, expressed our concerns about the competence of some of the new commissioners, and conveyed our criticism of the confirmation procedure.”

Timothy Kirkhope, deputy chairman of the ECR, said:

“Having been instrumental in President Barroso’s re-election we still have total confidence in him. However, we do not yet have full confidence in his entire team.

“During the hearings, some of the candidates veered away from the Political Guidelines that President Barroso himself set out for his commission’s second term. We will work with President Barroso to deliver those aspects of his agenda on which we can agree, but in some cases we were concerned that members of the commission were planning to pursue their own political agendas, even before they were sworn into office.”

ECR Vice-President Jan Zahradil said:

“Some national governments are culpable of not sending the best person for the job, instead opting for political expediency.

“However, now that the commission has been adopted, we do not intend to go into detail regarding those candidates that caused concern. Instead, we will look ahead to a constructive relationship with the new commission in order to deliver our programme of reform for the EU.”

Derk Jan Eppink, who sat through 12 commissioner hearings, said:

“We intend to campaign for reform of the commissioner confirmation procedure. It is imperative that next time the parliament can assess each candidate individually on his or her merits so that national governments think twice about who they send.”


Notes to editors:

1) The ECR group is the fifth largest in the European Parliament, containing 54 MEPs from eight member states. The group’s founding principles can be found in the Prague Declaration:

2) The ECR submitted a motion to the parliament regarding the presentation of the commission. View it here: