• Human rights,
  • von der Leyen,
  • Workers' rights


Day 2 of the hearings is over. Here are the five nominees that our MEPs grilled today – these are what we demand from them as our team assesses their individual merits for office.

Join us again on Wednesday!





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Integrity and transparency are the main themes for João Ferreira as he grilled Kyriakides about the influence of lobbyists and industries in the authorisation and licensing process of harmful pesticides in the EU:


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Just one hearing tonight with the Cypriot candidate, Stella Kyriakides, for the health brief – after the withdrawal of the Hungarian nominee László Trócsányi due to his dodgy finances. 

So, healthcare it is, and Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná wasted little time to get Kyriakides into committing for equal access to all citizens across the EU. Part of that means implementing the Health Technology Assessment , or HTA, who had been proposed by the Commission in 2018 and approved by MEPs in 2019 but currently remains blocked in the EU Council.


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On Wojciechowski, French MEP Manuel Bompard thinks he’s heard it all before… until he realised that he also heard nothing concrete!

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Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is not impressed either….


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Things are even worse over at the Agriculture hearing, with Janusz Wojciechowski proving to be either inept or incompetent (or both) in his brief. He had no answers on some of the very important issues whilst avoided others altogether. Even then, many of his replies were weak or simpy a repeat of the outgoing Commission.

No wonder Matt Carthy thinks a repeat hearing might be needed…


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Some very weak answers from Ylva Johansson to our Swedish MEP Malin Björk. Whe interrogated on her thoughts and a promise to stop externalising the EU border to third countries by setting up process and reception centres in countries like Libya, Johansson was somewhat non-committal, even invasive.

We dare say that she even seemed out of her depth at times.



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With Brexit now less than one month away, Irish MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has Irish beef farmers’ welfare at the top of his mind; losing access to the UK market would be a castarophe. He took up the issue – as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which has come about due to intensive farming – with the Polish nominee, Janusz Wojciechowski, who was only cleared of fraud a few days before the hearing.


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Kicking off the afternoon session, a clueless Commissioner-designate… or is the question too tough?

Mind you, the Swedish nominee Ylva Johansson didn’t have much to say either on Conny Ernst MEP’s other question on home affairs priorities being given to ensure ‘necessary technological innovation’so that the EU can ‘deal with the new and emerging threats’ from terrorism and online content.

Johansson could not give specific examples on whether such ‘tecnological innovation’ do not violate our fundamental rights or the protection for fundamental rights.

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In the employment committee, French MEP Leïla Chaibi concentrated her questions on the workers who are on zero hours contracts, also known as the gig economy.

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Also asking Jutta Urpilainen questions was GUE/NGL co-president, Manon Aubry, who criticised the lack of action by the EU on multinationals which have acted with impunity over human rights violations committed abroad:

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In his grilling of the Finnish nominee, Jutta Urpilainen, Spanish MEP Miguel Urbán highlights Niger as one of the biggest recipients of EU development aid that is intimately linked to controlling the flow of migration to Europe – even though its regime has an appalling track record on human rights.



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In the employment committee, Danish MEP Nikolaj Villumsen is first to question Luxembourg’s nominee Nicolas Schmit in the jobs portfolio, and the issue that is of most concern for him is safeuguarding minimum wages agreements in Denmark and other Nordic nations:

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Three down, 23 to go…or is it 22? The original Hungarian nominee was disqualified but a replacement has quickly been found in the shape of the country’s current EU ambassador, Olivér Várhelyi. But no news on the Romanian replacement yet after Rovana Plumb was withdrawn over conflicts of interests.

It’s Day 2 of the Commissioner-designate hearings and you can relive Day 1 here.

This morning, it’s Nicolas Schmit for Jobs and Jutta Urpilainen for International Partnerships.

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