The Parliament is now in the second week of Commissioners’ designate hearings. Ireland’s Big Phil put in what can only be described as a very competent performance when he faced the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee last Thursday.
Despite considerable build up that he might be in trouble, the Irish issues including Childers’ complaint just did not travel. Well-schooled Hogan, showed an overall empathy with the brief, vision for the job and a little charm. Some other nominees did not fair quite so well with six perhaps in difficulty. UK’s Jonathan Hill faces a further hearing as he now struggles to win the support of his inquisitors.
Two candidates appear to be in real trouble. France’s Socialist nominee for the Economic and Financial Affairs portfolio, Pierre Moscovici, is viewed with a jaundiced eye. The EPP’s Miguel Arias Caríete (Climate Action and Energy) was not only forced to sell his shareholding in the oil industry, but also had to make adjustments to his financial declaration, while performing poorly at his hearing.
The Socialist Romanian Government assisted Juncker in upping the number of female Commissioners by withdrawing its support from their Agriculture Commissioner and nominating Corina Cretu, an MEP and former VP of the Parliament. The Romanians requested Junker to assign her the Regional Portfolio. Surprisingly, she failed to impress at her hearing, providing no depth in her answers.
The assignment of the Regional Portfolio to Cretu may have caused Czech Socialist Vére Jorova problems. Prior to Cretu’s nomination it was widely anticipated that Jorova would be the Regional Affairs Commissioner. The short time in which to prepare for her current brief is seen by some as the cause of her underperformance and her committee’s request for written answers to nine questions.
Hungarian, Tibor Navracacsis, is perhaps in difficulty because he is from Hungary. His nominator Orbán was the only PM to support David Cameron in opposing Juncker’s appointment as President of the Commission. But it is anticipated that he will be confirmed to the Education Culture, Youth and Citizenship role.
Junker may be forced to reassign portfolios and in some instance ask some to do a McNulty and walk. The six Vice President Commissioners faced hearings on the 6th and 7th, and the entire process is to be completed by the 22nd, when Parliament vote on ratification of the College of Commissioners.