At his hearing, the nominee for the Justice and Freedom portfolio, Mr Buttiglione, told MEPs he thought homosexuality was a sin, and that marriage existed for women to have children and be protected by a man. When he was rejected, which has never happened at one of these confirmation hearings, his defenders protrayed him as a Catholic being punished for following his moral convictions.But he wasn’t the only commissioner-designate to arouse parliamentary concern. There was also Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands. With her extensive background in big business, the Dutchwoman raised doubts over future conflict of interests. The designated energy chief Laszlo Kovacs of Hungary failed to convince MEPs of his professional competence in the field or of his appitude for assuming the high office he was proposed for. The Greek, Latvian and Danish nominees were also considered weak candidates.