09 Oct, 2019

Commissioner hearings as they happened

The hearings of the six Liberal Commissioners-designate are now over. Our team put together a summary of each hearing, as they happened. To watch video recordings of each hearing, head to our Facebook page.

What happens next? Following the committees’ recommendations on each hearing, the European Parliament will decide whether to declare the hearing process closed or request more information. In case no further information is needed, the plenary will vote on the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.

1/ The day started with the hearing of Didier Reynders, Belgium’s former Foreign Affairs & Defence Minister and Commissioner-Designate for Justice, who was auditioned by the LIBE and JURI Committees.

His priorities?

Main highlight? Didier Reynders stressed multiple times the need for the EU to defend its standards both inside the EU and in discussions with external partners: “If we are not able to have influence, the influence will come from abroad.”

2/ Sylvie Goulard, Deputy Governor at the Banque de France and former ALDE MEP, Commissioner-Designate for the Internal Market, followed early afternoon in front of a packed room answering to IMCO and ITRE Committees.

Her priorities?

Main highlight? Sylvie Goulard positioned the completion of the EU Single market as an indispensable step to fight against rising protectionism whether inside or outside Europe: “we have nothing to be ashamed about our industry and its performance... However, it will have to undergo a profound transformation.

3/ Slovenian Ambassador to the EU and Commissioner-Designate for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič closed the day answering to the DEVE Committee’s questions.

His priorities?

Main highlight? Janez Lenarčič put a strong focus on vulnerable populations, such as women and girls whose exposure to sexual and gender-based violence needs to be addressed “at all stages of humanitarian aid”.

4/ Kadri Simson, Former Estonian Economy & Infrastructures Minister and Commissioner-Designate for Energy was invited to respond to the ITRE Committee’s questions.

Her priorities?

Main highlight? Kadri Simson largely emphasized that answers to critical issues such as carbon storage or energy taxation can only be achieved by a wide cooperation between Member States, some of which will need specific support to lift themselves out of fossil fuels

5/ Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and VP-designate for Values and Transparency was quizzed by both the AFCO and LIBE Committees.

Her priorities?

Main highlight? As part of her future tasks, Vera Jourová confirmed her commitment to improving the way democracy works, especially how European leaders are appointed: “we need to improve the lead candidate system” including looking at transnational lists.

6/ Current Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager was welcomed by a packed room as Executive VP-designate for a Europe fit for the Digital Age. Three Committees were responsible for her hearing: ITRE, IMCO and ECON

Her priorities?

Main highlight? Margrethe Vestager’s ambitious plan to create a realistic, future-proof European digital leadership to stand in the global competition could be summarised by the following: “My pledge is not to make Europe more like China, or more like America. My pledge is to make Europe more like herself.”

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