For those curious about the latest developments...
Thursday, 21 January 2010, at 11:55
Sources say... No. 7134
EU PARLIAMENT CLEARS ALL BARROSO II COMMISSIONERS Le Parlement européen a donné un feu vert de principe jeudi à 25 des 26 commissaires désignés de la future équipe de José Manuel Barroso, ouvrant la voie à l'investiture de la prochaine Commission européenne, a-t-on appris auprès de sa présidence. Le vote officiel d'approbation de la Commission "Barroso II" par les eurodéputés doit intervenir le 9 février. D'ici là, les parlementaires doivent encore auditionner, en principe le 3 février, la 26e et dernière commissaire qui vient d'être désignée par le gouvernement bulgare, Kristalina Georgieva, en remplacement de la précédente candidate, Roumiana Jeleva, contrainte à renoncer. Jeudi matin, leprésident du Parlement Jerzy Buzek a reçu la dernière des 25 lettres des commissions parlementaires qui ont auditionné les commissaires désignés. Selon la porte-parole de M. Buzek, toutes les commissions ont rendu un avis favorable.
Sources say... No. 7133
Wednesday, 20 January 2010, at 17:15
BARROSO REFUSES PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS WITH COMMISSION NOMINEES There will be no change of portfolios amongst nominees for the European Commission even after the replacement of the Bulgarian candidate, Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday. "I do not foresee any change of portfolios," Barroso told journalists in Brussels, ruling out a game of musical chairs that could further delay the appointment process of the EU executive. The Commission was meant to receive a vote of confidence by the EU Parliament on January 26, after a round of confirmation hearings on all 26 designated members. It would have then taken office on February 1. But a row over the would-be commissioner for humanitarian aid, Rumiana Jeleva has made it impossible to respect the schedule. Technically MEPs do not have the right to veto individual nominees, but they can block the appointment of the entire commission if they deem one or more of its prospective members to be inadequate. Jeleva was replaced on Tuesday by World Bank vice president Kristalina Georgieva. Barroso told the press he would meet Georgieva on Friday, while parliament's president Jerzy Buzek confirmed she would be quizzed by MEPs on February 3, with the confidence vote on the whole commission now set for February 9. In the past week MEPs expressed doubts over other candidates, fuelling speculation that a reshuffle of portfolios could be possible. Rumours centred on would-be economy commissioner, Olli Rehn of Finland, and Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands, who is due for the Telecoms portfolio. Despite the experience gained from being members of the outgoing commission, both disappointed in their confirmation hearings. But Rehn and Kroes won over their critics in subsequent contacts with MEPs, parliamentary sources indicated on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the conservative EPP group, to which Jeleva belongs to, said it would not target other prospective commissioners to avenge her withdrawal.
FRENCH SOCIALIST MEPs SAY THEY WILL VOTE AGAINST THE NEW COMMISSIONLes 14 élus socialistes français au Parlement européen voteront "non" à l'investiture de la Commission Barroso II, le 9 février, ont annoncé mercredi les responsables du groupe. "Nous allons voter contre ce collège. Nous considérons que la Commission dans son ensemble n'est pas à la hauteur", a expliqué à des journalistes le député français Kader Arif. "Nous ne savons pas encore si cette position sera celle de l'ensemble du groupe socialiste et démocrate au Parlement", qui compte au total 184 élus sur 736 députés européens, a précisé Catherine Trautmann, chef de file des 14 socialistes français. "Le groupe dans son ensemble arrêtera sa position quelques jours avant le vote", a-t-elle dit. "C'est sans doute le collège le plus faible qu'on ait jamais vu. Près d'une dizaine de commissaires désignés ont montré un manque de compétence ou d'ambition", lors de leurs auditions par les députés au cours des deniers jours, a observé un autre élu socialiste français, Harlem Désir. Chez la commissaire britannique travailliste et chef de la diplomatie européenne Catherine Ashton, ce manque de compétence "était même flagrant", a ajouté Désir pour qui "globalement, le compte n'y est pas
Sources say... No. 7132
Wednesday, 20 January 2010, at 11:45
NO MORE COMMISSIONERS-DESIGNATE EXPECTED TO BITE THE DUST If Freddie Mercury had been asked to write the theme tune for this year's Commission hearings, it would have been, "Another one bites the dust." On Tuesday, MEPs forced the resignation of Bulgaria's candidate for the post of EU aid commissioner -the third time in the last five years that they have claimed such a scalp, and a further sign that the legislature is becoming a power to be reckoned with in Europe. "It is an example of how the hearing procedures actually work: you have a candidate, she does not perform very well, we identify some problems in her lack of knowledge and then she is forced to resign and her country to find another, better-qualified candidate," socialist MEP Dan Jorgensen told dpa. Technically, MEPs cannot block individual candidates. But in 2004 they managed to do exactly that, insisting that the Italian and Latvian nominees, Rocco Buttiglione and Ingrida Udre, step down, and threatening to veto the whole commission if they did not. Buttiglione had offended MEPs with his views on gays, while Udre had been accused of financial impropriety. Ahead of this year's scheduled set of hearings, insiders warned that MEPs might be in the mood to repeat their 2004 feat, predicting that the Bulgarian nominee would be the one most likely to draw their wrath. "I told you in December that there would be problems with the new commissioners," Danny Cohn-Bendit commented to journalists. And so, indeed, it proved. JELEVA'S TACTICAL ERROR The conservative Bulgarian's January 12 hearing as commissioner for international aid quickly turned sour as socialist and liberal MEPs on the parliament's development committee accused her of falsifying her declaration of financial interests. Caught in a crossfire of hostile questions, Jeleva committed a serious tactical error, accusing the committee of wasting time on the question and saying that Bulgarian liberal MEP Antonyia Parvanova had started the "unfounded accusations" against her. That response further antagonized her audience, who insisted that the session be interrupted so that Parvanova had the right to reply. By the following morning, officials in Brussels were privately admitting that it would "take a minor miracle" for Jeleva to win the parliament's blessing. The same day, Jeleva's conservative backers, the EPP group launched an attack on Slovakia's centre-left commission designate, Maros Sefcovic, accusing him of anti-Roma sentiments. But accusations against Sefcovic did not seem to gain traction, as the former Slovakian ambassador to the EU and current culture commissioner apologized in a confirmation hearing on Monday and produced evidence of support from his country's Roma organizations. EPP politicians are now drawing attention to their "responsible" attitude, saying that they will not retaliate against rival would-be commissioners because, as Spanish MEP Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White told dpa, "Europe comes first." He claimed that "three or four" socialist nominees -Britain's Catherine Ashton, Greece's M aria Damanaki and the Czech Republic's Laszlo Andor, as well as Sefcovic- were "less than perfect". But the EPP would not "go for their blood" because getting the new commission in office -led incidentally by a conservative- was more important. That leaves Jeleva as the only nominee likely to bite the dust this year, unless MEPs decide that Lithuania's Algirdas Semeta, the nominee for the anti-fraud and tax portfolio, is also unfit for the job. But he is another conservative, and a second rejection would be too much for the EPP to bear quietly. DOUBTS OVER KROES, REHN DISPELLED Meanwhile, doubts over two other liberal candidates, Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands and Olli Rehn of Finland, tipped respectively for the telecom and the economic affairs portfolios, seemed to have been dispelled. Kroes was called for a closed meeting on Tuesday with a restricted group of MEPs, after a surprisingly disappointing hearing on Thursday where she was expected to pass with flying colours. Rehn was attacked for being too timid. "We were hungry for more information than he gave us," argued Sharon Bowles, the head of the economic affairs committee that quizzed him on January 11. Parliament sources indicated that both have now convinced their critics. Only Lithuania's Algirdas Semeta, the would-be anti-fraud and tax commissioner, still has some explaining to do, said Bowles. But the British MEP ruled out any new hearing beyond Georgieva's. "There no extra time available," she said. The new Bulgarian nominee is set to appear before parliament on February 3, the legislature's president Jerzy Buzek announced. According to the nex timetable, the vote on the new commission would be moved to February 9, just two days before a special EU summit on unemployment, climate change and the Haiti crisis.
SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER BLASTS HUNGARY OVER ATTACK ON EU CANDIDATE Slovakia attacked the next likely government leaders in Hungary for criticising its candidate for the EU Commission, stirring tension between the two neighbours ahead of upcoming elections in both countries. Leftist Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico accused the right-wing Hungarian opposition led by Viktor Orban of trying to derail its candidate, Maros Sevcovic, for the EU Commission to divert attention from Hungary's economic crisis. The likelihood of a victory in the April or May Hungarian election by the right-wing Fidesz is likely to raise tensions, which mostly centre on the Hungarian minority in Slovakia whose political representation is in opposition against Fico. "The Slovak government strongly rejects attacks from politicians of the chauvinist and great-Hungary-supporting Fidesz party against the Slovak candidate for the European Commission," Fico told reporters. The EPP, the largest group in the European Parliament with Fidesz being part of the faction, had voiced concerns about comments the Slovak candidate made five years ago about the Roma people, a sizeable minority in central Europe. But he appeared to emerge intact from a key hearing in the parliament on Monday, faring better than Bulgarian Foreign Minister Rumiana Jeleva who withdrew her candidacy after she failed to disperse concerns about her qualifications and business background. "The Slovak government understands that for some Hungarian politicians, this diplomatic success is unacceptable," Fico said. "Hungary is going through a deep economic and social crisis, and tries to conceal this with attacks against Slovakia ... Our recommendation to Fidesz is to deal with its complexes at home." Slovakia, the euro zone's newest member, will hold elections later in June, and Fico's leftist Smer is the clear favourite. The two countries' relations have never been rosy, due to the inclusion of a Hungarian minority -now over half a million people- into the newly formed Czechoslovakia in 1918. EU entry by both Slovakia and Hungary in 2004 did little to alleviate the ill feelings.
2010. január 21., csütörtök
FW: New Commission
Egy kis belső magaspolitika, hogy megmaradjon az utókor számára ... így készül a Bizottság a Parlamentben :)