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Anchrit Wille on Dutch news website 'Europa Nu' on confirmation hearings for the future European Commissioners

The last names for the future European Commissioners were made public at the beginning of September 2019 and also which candidates have been put forward for the new European Commission by the different member states.

The political battles surrounding the nominations will now be relocated to the European Parliament where the public hearings will be held. The aspiring European Commissioners will be questioned to assess their qualities, opinions and policy intentions. Once the hearings are over, the European Parliament will make their decision for the entire European Commission known.

Democratic Instrument

Anchrit Wille, Associate Professor at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University believes the hearings are a valuable democratic instrument and names five reasons to support that claim: 'Reason one is that the quality of candidates and whether they would be a good fit is being tested based on thorough preliminary investigations by parliament. The candidates are also asked to reply to written questions concerning their general capabilities, commitment to the EU and independence.' Reason number two is that during the three-hour long Q&A sessions the main focus for the members of the EU Parliament will be on the policy and portfolio of the future EU Commissioners. 'The hearings are used to provide clarity about policy intentions', says Wille, 'but also to elicit promises.'

Blocking Appointments

The third reason why hearings are important is so that the European Parliament can block the appointments of commissioners if necessary and can have their say about the way the portfolios have been distributed by the Commission Chairman. As for the fourth reason, Wille states that the hearings are the starting point for the working relation between the commissioners and parliament. The fifth and final reason is that the hearings increase the transparency of the appointment process. The EP shows how chosen delegates are able to pull the selection process away from behind the proverbial political closed doors and into the public eye. The hearings are also televised from start to finish and provide interesting political theatre.

You can read the full article (in Dutch) on the Europa Nu website.


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