The European Parliament voted today for a more rigorous process of confirmation hearings for Commissioners, giving MEPs more power to cross-examine nominees.
The proposals from the European Parliament constitutional affairs committee, in a report authored by Labour MEP Richard Corbett, include allowing follow-up questions in the event of non-answers; second hearings in case the answers received first time around are unsatisfactory; and putting a deadline on national governments to propose their candidates.
The report also calls for improved gender balance in the Commission, by requiring each candidate to put forward two candidates – one male and one female – for the President of the European Commission to choose from.
Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s European spokesperson on constitutional affairs, said:
These proposals give more power to MEPs to scrutinise and thoroughly examine the suitability of candidates to be Commissioner. The onus is now on Member States to put forward a stronger, more representative set of nominees.
Westminster can learn from the Commissioner hearings process. For all the talk of “unelected Brussels bureaucrats”, the process for appointing Commissioners is far more rigorous than that for appointing ministers.