• european commission,
  • von der Leyen

The first day’s hearings of the Commissioner-designates are over – join us again tomorrow for Day 2!

***** ***** ***** *****

And here is our score card for Mariya Gabriel:


***** ***** ***** *****

And big Phil Hogan?


***** ***** ***** *****

Our verdicts at the end of Day 1?

For Maroš Šefčovič


***** ***** ***** *****


Finally in the Mariya Gabriel hearing, German MEP Martina Michels is annoyed that culture is no longer considered important enough to be included in any of the Commission portfolio titles:


***** ***** ***** *****


Back with Phil Hogan, and French MEP Emmanuel Maurel said a lack of strategy by successive European Commissions on tackling counterfeit goods is costing jobs and money across the EU – and there is not a word about it in the von der Leyen proposals:


He accused the European Union of behaving naively towards the Chinese:

***** ***** ***** *****


Over at the Mariya Gabriel hearing for the ‘Innovation and Youth’ portfolio, Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias wanted to know if the Bulgarian candidate will uphold both human rights and EU citizens’ basic needs if her confirmation is passed:


On human rights, Matias criticised the Commission for being hypocritical when it comes to dealing with certain countries with appalling records on the issue:

***** ***** ***** *****


In the evening hearings, German MEP Helmut Scholz was on hand to grill the Irish nominee Phil Hogan as he takes on the trade portfolio with Mercosur and Brexit both on the horizon.


Scholz says that human rights must be at the heart of any EU trade policies, in particular, the rules of due diligence which had been initiated and agreed by the European Parliament.



***** ***** ***** *****


Questioning Šefčovič on behalf of the Justice committee, Manon Aubry says the procedure of probing into the Commissioner-designates has been highly politicised, tempestuous and one that is marked by great difficulties such as restrictive information with no possibility of there being a proper investigation.



***** ***** ***** *****


German MEP Helmut Scholz, representing GUE/NGL in the Constitutional Affairs committee, asks Šefčovič

The ‘one in, one out’ principle is troubling as it wants to unshackle the supposed ‘bureaucratic burdens’ upon member states which guarantee and ensure basic rights and standards in areas such as environment, labour or health policy. On the contrary, these “burdens” provide the minimum in terms of required safeguards.

Using the pretext of alleviating burdens for the member states by removing any kind of legislation that protects these rights would be yet another step in the wrong direction, and away from what Europe should represent for its citizens and the world.

***** ***** ***** *****


Slovakia’s Maroš Šefčovič is first up and he has been a Europoean Commissioner since 2009. Now nominated for ‘Institutional Relations and Foresight’, the Slovak had previously said that politics should dictate how things are regulated – not methodology.

One of Šefčovič’s priorities must be to ensure greater democratic participation from citizens and the European Parliament. He must also rein in the power and influence of the lobbyists, and allow NGOs and trade unions more of a say in the public interest.

***** ***** ***** *****


The Spanish candidate for Foreign Affairs chief was found to own half a million shares in companies such as Bayer (big pharma), BBVA (finance) and Iberdrola (fossil fuel). No action was asked of him as an outcome of the process despite the obvious conflicts of interest. Manon Aubry tweeted:




Manon Aubry: “Another case is that of the Italian Paolo Gentiloni, who will oversee the economy portfolio while invested in fossil fuel (ENI, Enel) and big business such as Amazon. He promised to sell his shares but NO proof of sale was requested.”



In a widely-shared twitter thread, Manon Aubry MEP – member of the JURI committee – gave examples of how the conflicts of interest assessments were done in a hasty, politicised and inconsistent manner.

She tweeted:

‘The conflicts of interest assessment gave an easy pass to the most influential countries. The committee obsessed over Wojciechowski’s apartment, which he did not live in for 3 years but ignored the 14 apartments owned by Portugal’s Elisa Ferreira, the five of Joseph Borrell and the four of Gentiloni!’



***** ***** ***** *****


13h50 – GUE/NGL co-leaders’ letter to Ursula von der Leyen

Ahead of the start of  afternoon’s hearings, GUE/NGL co-presidents have penned a joint letter to Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, setting out what they want to hear from the nominees, and what they want to change about the process.

You can read the letter here



***** ***** ***** *****


Welcome to our coverage of the Commissioner-designates’ hearings for 2019-2024.

Over six days during this and next week, 26 men and women are scheduled to appear before the European Parliament’s committees which will scrutinise the nominees’ suitability for the various jobs and portfolios that they will be holding in the European Commission.

We will be covering our MEPs’ reactions and their participation in the grilling of the nominees throughout.

Setting the scene for us is our co-president, Martin Schirdewan, who says what the Left in the European Parliament expects to hear about and will ask all the candidate.

You can watch his video here



In the news & International solidarity & Peace & Solidarity ·

The EU leaders’ Summit letdown - now what?

Feminism & In the news & Rights & liberties ·

Mon corps, mon choix

In the news ·

The Left Study Days in Ostrava, Czech Republic