Predictable delay

Despite non-brilliant hearings, the Executive is ready to start off

The installation of the next Barroso Commission is stumbling against obstacles and delays, not all of which were unpredictable, but the Executive is due to take office in the next few weeks. After the withdrawal of the nomination of Bulgarian candidate Roumiana Jeleva, the new candidate appointed by Sofia, Kristalina Georgieva, will face EP hearings. The relevant portfolio committees evaluated the hearings of the other commissioners-designate. Jerzy Buzek announced that he had received all the commissioners-designate assessment letters from the EP committees. Hearings, countless questions and vague answers. On the whole, the hearings appeared to be very generic. Although the written questionnaires submitted to candidates in December – with questions on the “European curriculum” and, naturally, the themes relating to the respective portfolios – and the three-hour parliamentary hearings, specific themes were not probed into, whether economic, social, cultural or regarding the international scenario… Each candidate was asked dozens and dozens of questions: some of them were at ease and displayed their knowledge of the topic and related literature (draft-proposals, programs, Community measures) on their way towards the EU. Other candidates carefully avoided answers that referred to political commitments and focused on the principle of ‘collegiality’, which regulates the works of the Commission. However, most often than not questions were avoided and answers were “hazy”. The employment and inclusion portfolio. One of the areas that attract major interest at this stage of Community life is employment, social affairs and inclusion. The economic crisis indeed destabilized the job market, while on the social plane the EU is addressing the consequences of unemployment. For this portfolio, Commission President José Manuel Barroso indicated the Hungarian candidate Laszlo Andor. Born in 1966, member of the Socialist political group, Mr. Andor is a university professor. He completed his economics studies in Budapest and Manchester and speaks fluently Hungarian, Russian and English. In the past he was not very enthusiastic of the Maastricht Treaty and of NATO (MEPs held it against him). However he has a lot of experience in Europe and is currently member of the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “The crisis caused millions of unemployed. The most vulnerable have been affected very seriously. I want to avoid further job losses in the EU and we must consider the backdrop of the crisis on society”.Operating for the general interest of Europe. “My entire professional life has been consecrated to European integration – Andor told MEPs – the portfolio I have been assigned to plays a key role in developing a modern social-and-employment European agenda based on equality”. “My experience as economist, as lecturer in various universities in Europe and abroad, as consultant for governmental and non-governmental bodies and as member of the board of directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development enhanced my understanding of urgent social questions”. “My sole motivation is to work for the interest of the EU, namely to assure that Commission measures envisage the common and fundamental needs of the citizens and workers”. “We’re experiencing the worst economic crisis since the period of the great depression. It is expected that job market recovery will take more time than predicted, with serious consequences on welfare”. Andor said he would do his “utmost to curb unemployment rate increase and help the unemployed return to the job market, thus preventing the diffusion of poverty and exclusion”.Supporting vulnerable people. The themes addressed during the hearing include the “Europe 2020” strategy, which the EU is called to develop in the coming months on the wake of the failure of the Lisbon Strategy. Also in this case, Andor announced a list of “priorities”. These include “promoting measures to protect vulnerable brackets and dealing with the causes of poverty and social exclusion at the foundations, including child poverty and multiple discrimination or the worsening of the situation of Roma people” across Europe. Priorities and “dreams”; will they come true?

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