29th Feb 2024

Future energy commissioner criticised by MEPs

The future of new Commissioner László Kovács has been called into question after MEPs gave a critical review of his hearing before the European Parliament.

The Industry Committee has sent a negative letter to the President of the European Parliament on his performance at his hearing on 1 October.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

The letter says that the Committee is not convinced by his general "competence" for the portfolio - Mr Kovacs is due to take up the energy portfolio on 1 November.

The Industry Committee's letter follows a vote by the Civil Liberties Committee which saw Mr Kovác's Italian counterpart, Rocco Buttiglione, narrowly rejected by MEPs after he aired conservative views on gays and the role of women in society.


Although the letter to Mr Kovács has been left open and there was no vote on the Hungarian, as there was with Mr Buttiglione, some feel that he presents a greater problem because his competence has been called into question.

However, the letter contains a softening line from the Socialists.

It suggests that Mr Kovács, who himself is a socialist, would learn enough to cope on the job.

The conservative European People's Party, on the other hand, was very critical of the Hungarian, who is due to take up his job on 1 November.

However, Mr Kovacs has also been attacked from other quarters.

The Greens, who are considering voting against the whole of the Commission during the European Parliament plenary session on 27 October, called Mr Kovács' hearing "an offence to the Parliament".

"It was thoroughly ill advised of him to come so badly prepared. In his answers he was unable to demonstrate vision for a European energy policy and lacked even a basic understanding of essential energy technologies", said the Green group in a statement after the hearing.

Leaders of the political groups will meet on Wednesday (13 October) to discuss all the hearings ahead of a meeting with the new Commission president, José Manuel Durão Barroso on 21 October.

Barroso still confident

Despite the strong signal being emitted from the European Parliament - the Danish, Dutch and Latvian Commissioners have also seen criticism - Mr Barroso remains confident in his team.

As a reaction to the news about Mr Buttiglione's rejection by MEPs, a spokesperson for his transition team said "Mr Barroso maintains his confidence in the whole team, which of course includes Mr Buttiglione".

"Mr Barroso is not commenting at this point on individual hearings", she added.


Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.


New government in Belfast is much ado about not much

The deal to restore Northern Ireland's government — after nearly two years — is being spun as a major triumph. But not much has changed. This is an exercise in fine-tuning and political window-dressing.


Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

In a fractious parliamentary vote, the level of party discipline often decides the fate of legislation. Party discipline among nationalists and far-right MEPs is the weakest, something potentially significant after the June elections. Data by Novaya Gazeta Europe and EUobserver.

Latest News

  1. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational
  2. Von der Leyen appeals for 'new EU defence mindset'
  3. EU supply chain law fails, with 14 states failing to back it
  4. Joined-up EU defence procurement on the horizon?
  5. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  6. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  7. MEPs adopt new transparency rules for political ads
  8. EU nature restoration law approved after massive backlash

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us