Friday

6th Dec 2019

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. 30-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.

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.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

EU governments and the parliament agreed in marathon talks ino next year's budget - which will boost spending on climate, border protection, and the European satellite system. It will also be a benchmark if there is no long-term budget deal.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  2. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  3. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  4. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  5. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate
  6. Development to fuel change
  7. Does EU have role in stopping backsliding in Georgia?
  8. Swedish candidate adds heat to EU ombudsman vote

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us