Monday

30th Nov 2020

Parliament Committee rejects Italian Commissioner

MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament have rejected Italy's proposed new Commissioner - just weeks before he is due to take up his job.

In a vote on Monday (11 October), Rocco Buttiglione was voted down by MEPs - the first time a Commission nominee has ever been fully rejected by a committee.

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Mr Buttiglione fell foul of the Euro-deputies following his comments, during his Parliament audition last week, on gays and his traditional views on the role of women in society.

Berlusconi: \"crude propaganda\"

A compromise solution suggesting that the conservative politician be kept in the Commission but be given a different portfolio was rejected by a majority.

Reacting to the vote, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlsuconi accused Italian left MEPs of waging "crude propaganda" and said the vote marked a "dreadful start" to the European Parliament.

The Committee will make its recommendation to reject Mr Buttiglione to the president of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, on Tuesday.

However, a final decision has to be taken later this week by the different political groups.

Knock-on effect?

Some MEPs are already wondering if there will be a knock-on effect - making power politics between the different political families come into play.

It is thought that Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs, a socialist who is to be in charge in energy, could be targeted by conservatives.

"I realise this is politics but it would be a shame if, merely because of politics, good people get in trouble in the confirmations simply because of a knock on effect", the Civil Liberties Committee vice-president, Greek Socialist Stavros Lambrinidis, told EUobserver.

The political group leaders are due to meet incoming Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso next week to put their views to him.

Mr Barroso is not under any legal obligation to change his team and MEPs, when they vote in two weeks time, can only vote to reject the whole Commission en masse and not just one person from the team.

"In theory, on the basis of this recommendation, Mr Barroso can think about the composition of his Commission - nothing more than that", said Mr Lambrinidis.

To make matters a little cloudier still, Mr Buttiglione was accepted by the Legal Affairs Committee - which also gave him a separate hearing last week.

Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Poland and Hungary should ask the EU's top court to assess linking EU funds to the respect of the rule of law instead of blocking the budget and recovery package, the EU Commission chief said, most MEPs backed her up.

German minister predicts rule-of-law solution in 'days'

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said the will be "able to take decisions" in the next few days on the budget and coronavirus recovery fund. Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki will travel to Budapest on Thursday.

Hungary and Poland unfazed by EU outcry over budget block

France's EU affairs state secretary Clement Beaune said his country and Germany are looking into "technical clarifications" on rule-of-law conditionality to resolve the issue, but floated the idea of doing the recovery fund without Poland and Hungary.

EU ministers urge Poland and Hungary to unblock budget

"This is no time for power games, we cannot have a political crisis on top of all this, this is the time to show EU unity," Portugal's EU affairs state minister Ana Paula Zacarias told the meeting of EU ministers.

EU pushes back against rising homophobia

The EU Commission plans a proposal to ensure recognition children-parent relations in cross border situations, and legislation to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between member states.

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