Monday

24th Feb 2020

Kroes performs better in second EP audition

  • Despite a tough reputation, Ms Kroes failed to impress MEPs during her hearing last week (Photo: EUobserver)

European commissioner-designate Neelie Kroes appeared to do enough to win the support of MEPs in a closed-door supplementary questioning session on Tuesday (19 January), after a lacklustre performance by the Dutch Liberal politician at a European Parliamentary hearing last week threw her approval into doubt.

A decision by centre-right Bulgarian candidate Rumiana Jeleva to withdraw her strongly contested candidacy on Tuesday also helped clear the air, with some observers saying objections to Ms Kroes were largely politically motivated as parliament's groups engaged in a round of tit-for-tat attacks on opposition candidates.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

Sofia has indicated it plans to send Kristalina Georgieva, currently a vice-president of the World Bank, as a replacement for Ms Jeleva, with the new hearing session scheduled to take place on the 3 February. The full parliamentary vote on the whole college of candidates in now planned for 9 February.

Ms Kroes has so far been the only commissioner-designate to be called back for further questioning, with centre-right MEP Pilar Del Castillo indicating after the intimate session in front of political-grouping co-ordinators for parliament's culture and industry committees that the Dutch politician appeared to have done enough.

"Extra meeting was useful; she gave more solid opinions and proposals. Evaluation will take place tomorrow," said Ms Castillo via a Twitter message.

Other European Peoples' Party sources indicated to EUobserver that the political group was "quite clear that she had given substantial answers," while the spokesman for the Socialists and Democrats Group, Tony Robinson, said the parliament's second largest group would also be supporting Ms Kroes' return to the EU executive where she currently works as competition commissioner.

"I'm not expecting us to be opposing her. We were surprised that things didn't go well in the original hearing," he told EUobserver, a sentiment expressed by group leader MEP Martin Schulz in a press conference on Tuesday.

A former minister, Ms Kroes gave vague answers and displayed several knowledge gaps when questioned by MEPs last Friday on her potential Digital Agenda brief.

"She was happy to come along and underline her commitment to the portfolio," current commission competition spokesman Jonathan Todd said of Tuesday's one-hour questioning session.

Kroes' future hangs in the balance

The European commissioner-designate for the digital agenda dossier, Neelie Kroes, looks set to be called back by MEPs for further questioning after her performance on Thursday in front of parliament's industry and culture committees left euro-deputies dissatisfied.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

EU leaders arriving at the Brussels summit criticised the budget proposal of EU Council president Charles Michel, as richer member states insisted holding onto their rebates, while poorer countries wanted to avoid deep cuts to their subsidies.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel's party suffers worst ever result in Hamburg
  2. 'No need to panic' on coronavirus in Italy, EU says
  3. Erdogan says he will meet Macron, Merkel on Syria
  4. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  5. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  6. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  7. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  8. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU speaks out against Israeli settler spike
  2. Polish rule of law crisis at point of no return
  3. Africa visit and EU parliament missions This WEEK
  4. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  5. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  6. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  7. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  8. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us