Saturday

20th Aug 2022

Agenda

EP starts grilling new commissioners This WEEK

  • Commissioners will have to answer to 45 questions in three hours (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Parliament will start grilling incoming EU commissioners this week, with the most problematic ones scheduled for Wednesday (1 October).

All 27 members of Jean-Claude Juncker's team of commissioners will appear in front of MEPs from Monday on. Each hearing will last three hours and MEPs will be able to ask a total of 45 questions, divided among political groups and specialised committees.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Some of the hearings - such as the one of incoming trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Monday will be organised by a single parliamentary committee (international trade), others, where the portfolio is broader, by several committees.

German commissioner Guenther Oettinger, whose portfolio is called "digital economy and society" will be appear in front of MEPs from five committees: industry, culture, internal market, legal affairs, and civil liberties.

The commissioners expected to have the toughest grilling are scheduled on Wednesday: Britain's Jonathan Hill, a former political advisor who will be in charge of "financial stability, financial services and capital markets" - will face tough questions from members of the economics committee who doubt he's competent enough for the job.

Spain's Arias Canete, a former farm minister who has sold most of his shares in oil companies, but whose family still holds important stakes in that industry, is auditioning for the "energy and climate action" portfolio. Canete has already faced criticism from the Greens over potential conflict of interest. If the Socialist and Liberal MEPs swing their way, he might get a negative vote from the committee, which will put pressure on Juncker to ask the Spanish government to replace him, or face a negative vote against his whole team, later in October.

Also on Wednesday, Hungary's Tibor Navracsics is set to be heard by MEPs in the culture and industry committees. Navracsics will be in charge of "education, culture, youth and citizenship" at a time when his government back home, in which he served as a justice minister and later on as foreign minister, has cracked down on civil society.

Both Canete and Navracsics are centre-right politicians form the European People's Party. "If the Socialists go after one of ours, we will go after one of theirs," an EP source told this website.

Possible Socialist "targets" are Malta's Karmenu Vella, who is supposed to become environment commissioner but has large stakes in his country's tourism and construction industry or Romania's Corina Cretu, who should become regional policy commissioner.

Cretu, a former journalist turned presidential spokeswoman, made tabloid headlines last year when a hacker published romantic emails between her and former US secretary of state Colin Powell.

The Liberal family also has commissioners who could get a negative advice from the EP: Slovenia's Alenka Bratusek who is under fire back home for having nominated herself at a time when she was a caretaker prime minister and Czech Vera Jourova, who will be a justice commissioner, after having been arrested on corruption charges, which were later dropped.

Meanwhile, EU affairs ministers are meeting on Monday to prepare for the October summit and adopt the delay of the application of a free-trade agreement with Ukraine.

EU ambassadors the following day are to discuss a possible roll-back of economic sanctions imposed on Russia, given that a ceasefire in Ukraine is holding in broad terms.

EUobserved

Death by 'hearings'

The hearings, the hearings. It's all about the hearings. Please make it stop. Or should that be start?

Rule of law and Czech presidency priorities This WEEK

The European Commission will unveil its rule-of-law audit of all EU member states this week. Meanwhile, several ministers from the Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers the priorities of the rotating EU Council presidency for the next six months.

Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for the final plenary before the summer break, with a crucial vote on the classification of gas and nuclear. The Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers its presidency's priorities for the next six months.

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

Opinion

Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?

The former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have retained close ties with Russia since 1989. Yet this consensus may be shifting. At the UN, none of them supported Russia in the resolution condemning the Ukraine invasion.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us