Wannabe EU commissioners continue hearings

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Wannabe EU commissioners continue hearings

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More would-be commissioners go under the spotlight today in the EU parliament.

The nominee for Trade Commissioner, Belgium’s Karel de Gucht, is among those to face a three-hour grilling by MEPs. He told the hearing this morning that he supports Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation.

Yesterday Britain’s Catherine Ashton, who is pencilled for the new high-profile role of foreign affairs chief, had to answer tricky questions about her anti-nuclear campaigning past.

“I am not ashamed of who I am and what I have been. When I was a young person I
marched because I believed that we should abolish nuclear weapons. You could argue against how I did it, you can’t argue against what I was seeking to achieve,” she said.

But Ashton failed to convince some who consider her inexperienced.

And one French centre-right MEP said he thought her views were perhaps a little too “British,” especially concerning defence issues and relations with the United States. But he admitted she seemed more comfortable than in previous hearings.

The nominee predicted to face the most opposition from MEPs is Bulgaria’s Rumiana Jeleva. There have been allegations in the press that her husband has links to organised crime.

MEPs vote to approve or reject the commission as a whole in two week’s time.