MEPs have begun hearings of Commission picks to ensure their suitability for the job and deliver on citizens expectations. Day one saw Trade, Innovation and Inter-institutional relations on the menu.
Phil Hogan from Ireland, the Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel and the Slovak Maroš Šefčovič were all heard and questioned by Parliamentary committees. After scrutinising their abilities and plans, Parliament will have the final say on the Commission.
Parliament has begun a marathon series of hearings of nominees to the European Commission. First up were: Maroš Šefčovič Phil Hogan and Mariya Gabriel.
They have been put forward for the positions of inter-institutional relations,trade and innovation.
The committees on Constitutional Affairs and on Legal Affairs questioned Maroš Šefčovič. A former MEP, the Slovak is currently a Commission vice-president. He has been nominated as Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight.
MEPs questioned him on how to include citizens in the future of Europe and the Parliament’s role in that future.
Especially on Parliament’s right to initiate legislation, after Šefčovič committed to taking on board MEPs’ proposals for new laws – a formal right currently only enjoyed by the Commission.
“A stronger Parliament means a stronger and more legitimate Europe. A stronger Parliament also means moving into a shared culture of anticipation and action to be resilient in the long run”.
Phil Hogan, from Ireland, has been put forward for the position of Trade Commissioner. He previously served in the Irish government and is currently EU Commissioner for Agriculture.
MEPs from the Committee on International Trade questioned him on growing protectionism around the world, relations with China and the US, and how European trade deals could be better implemented.
They also questioned him on how to ensure a level playing field in digital commerce. “Europe needs to be the global champion of fair sustainable and rules-based trade. And with your help I believe we can strengthen that leadership role, we can act and deliver results that show the European Union at its best”.
If confirmed, Hogan will be the EU’s chief negotiatoron International Trade negotiations and will represent the EU at the WTO.
Next up was the Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel,for the post of Commissioner for Innovation and Youth.
The Industry, Research and Energy committee teamed up with the committee on Culture and Education to question her.
A former MEP, Gabriel is the current commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. “I look forward to developing new initiatives off the beaten path. I will think disruptively, creating new ties between institutions and building a future with all relevant actors.”
MEPs focused their questioning on the protection of cultural diversity and exchange programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.
The vote in Parliament, to decide if the Commission, as a whole, is accepted or rejected is scheduled for 23 October.