Saturday

29th Apr 2017

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.

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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.

Eurogroup makes 'progress' on Greek deal

Eurozone ministers endorsed an agreement in principle between the Greek government and its creditors over a new package of reforms. But talks on fiscal targets and debt could still block a final agreement.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Investigation

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

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