Thursday

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.

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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.

Criticism

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.

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