This evening at the European Parliament, Commissioner Günther Oettinger was questioned by MEPs as he takes on a new mandate as Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources. 

Oettinger had attracted attention in the past for comments deemed as offensive and racist. His appointment was met with vociferous opposition from human rights and transparency groups who had written to the Commission expressing their concerns. 

Echoing these sentiments, GUE/NGL MEP Liadh Ní Riada commented on the appointment at the end of today’s hearing:  

“We are at a political crossroads in Europe and, once again it seems, we will be left with a Commissioner that has had, to say the least, a set of alarming, worrying and questionable statements and attitudes.”

“Mr. Oettinger is tasked with the EU budget and the human resources of EU institutions, which are meant to follow rules on transparency, equality and ethics, yet he seems to be an example for exactly the opposite.”

“The systemic shortcomings in the EU budget must come to an end and there must be a real commitment to a Social Europe. This appointment will change little other than adding fuel to an already fragile and disenfranchised EU,” Ní Riada added. 

GUE/NGL MEP Dennis De Jong stated that Oettinger’s appointment to this new role will be a continuation of his agenda in support of big business: 

“I challenged Oettinger during the hearing on the fact that the vast majority of meetings he has held since December 2014, while Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, have been with representatives of big businesses and lobby organisations, in detriment of perspectives that more adequately represent the aspirations of European citizens. The Commissioner unapologetically made it clear in his reply that big business will continue being his main priority.”

“I have no confidence that Commissioner Oettinger will delivery adequately on the demands for the job, let alone stand for the interests of ordinary people, trade unions, consumer organisations and civil society at large,” De Jong concluded. 

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