Explaining why the European Conservatives and Reformists Group abstained in today’s vote on the new European Commission, ECR Chairman Syed Kamall said that the structure of the new commission was positive and he liked many of the priorities that it has been set, but that there are some new Commissioners that have been below par.
Striking a constructive tone in today’s debate, he said:
“In five years’ time we will debate the Juncker Commission’s legacy. We will judge it on whether it lifted its eyes from institutional navel gazing and towards the wider world; and on whether it tackled important issues like energy security, the digital single market and opening trade.
“As an open and democratic group the ECR had a number of discussions about this commission. We have some concerns and some things we like.
“We welcome that the structure is not 27 jobs for 27 people and that you’ve torn down the silos focusing on outcomes. We like that you are looking to cut red tape, complete the digital single market, and tackle energy, the economy and competitiveness.
“We were impressed by some of the appointments, such as Mr Timmermans who will ask whether we always need EU regulation, or if these matters are better managed at the national level.
“And some members of my group feel you have offered us an olive branch and I hope that both sides will grasp that olive branch and work with you over the next five years.
“But we were disappointed you didn’t respond to this parliament’s demands to appoint a budgetary control commissioner. We see the appointment of a French socialist with a poor record on the growth and stability pact, as a mistake.
“We know the process is over and the deal has been done. We will not join this cosy consensus and will abstain.
“Where you pursue reform we will work with you. There is much work to do and we wish you well.”