Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

MEPs back Romanian commissioner despite 'indecent' job task

Despite its criticism over the multilingualism portfolio of the new Romanian commissioner, the European Parliament is set to support the nominee, with the socialists pointing out it is not his fault that commission chief Barroso "lacks imagination."

Following last month's hearings of the Romanian and Bulgarian nominees Leonard Orban and Meglena Kuneva are set to be approved by MEPs in a plenary vote scheduled for next week's plenary session in Strasbourg.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

While both candidates received a positive assessment from deputies, Mr Orban's job tasks were questioned before and after the hearing, with the socialist group voicing the strongest criticism.

According to some insiders, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso had considered linking Mr Orban's multilingualism portfolio with ehnic minorities - as suggested by some MEPs during the debate.

However, in a letter to the conference of presidents - the parliament's group leaders - which is set to meet on Thursday (7 December), Mr Barroso once again spelled out his arguments defending the tasks of the Romanian commissioner-in waiting, with no hint at other changes.

He highlighted his idea of Mr Orban's future role in "inter-cultural dialogue at EU level", which he first came up with after criticism that the multilingualism job is merely administrative - only dealing with the commission's interpreters and translators.

He now argues that "without the knowledge of languages, we cannot move beyond the multicultural to the intercultural."

In practise however, Slovak culture commissioner Jan Figel "will remain responsible for the management of actions to directly promote the inter-cultural dialogue," stressed the commission president.

'Very weak'

Socialist group leader Martin Schultz reacted by saying that Mr Barroso's letter was "very weak" and "it shows that the commission president lacks imagination."

However, the socialists will support Mr Orban to take up the job next January - when both Romania and Bulgaria join the EU.

"We are still not happy about the portfolio and we think it is insufficient," socialist vice-president Hannes Swoboda told EUobserver.

"But he can not suffer just because Mr Barroso is unable to find him a decent portfolio," he added.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

EU ministers' discussion on how to address rule of law issues in Poland and Hungary gets stuck on procedural issues, while Viktor Orban's government claims it is a target of the Brussels elite because of its anti-migration stance.

EU's centre-right make Weber their man to replace Juncker

The centre-right EPP party's congress wanted to show unity - but divisions remain after the political alliance lined up behind Germany's Manfred Weber as their 'Spitzenkandidat' ahead of next year's European election.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  2. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  3. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  4. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  5. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  6. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  7. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks
  8. Italian journalist unions protest 5MS 'whores' jibe

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  2. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  3. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  4. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  5. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  6. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  7. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  8. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us