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Van Der Leyen may have a distaste for disruption, but democracy in action can also be quite disruptive, and for legitimate reasons. Brexiteers (and others) have always characterised the Commission as an unaccountable elite impervious to political pressures.

That has never been more than partly true - plenty of Commissioners have failed to achieve the approval of the European parliament. What was wrong here is that the European Parliament (or relevant subcommittee) was even sitting and never got to debate the issue. Hogan should have been accountable to them.

Martin and Varadkar were always going to respond to domestic political pressures. Hogan's behaviour created an outrage similar to that created by Cummings in the UK. But they had no power to (and didn't) demand his sacking. Van Der Leyen could have simply referred the matter to the EP and let Hogan make his case there.

Some lesser sanction by the EP might have result in the whole matter blowing over after a couple of weeks. The current clumsy process whereby the EP can only approve/disapprove of the Commission as a whole needs to be reformed. Commissioners should be subject to regular hearings before the relevant sub-committees of the EP and censored or sanctioned by a range of measures if they are deemed to fall short of the standards required.

That is democracy in action, not the baying of the media or the howling of the mob. There was/is a lot of popular frustration at the restrictions of the lockdown, and it had to be vented somehow. If an Irish Cabinet Minister had to resign in consequence, why not an EU Commissioner?

The answer is that it is for the EP to decide, and I am surprised there haven't been more calls for it to have done so. Can there not be even a standing committee to deal with such matters in August while the rest of Parliament is on leave? It is time the EP became more relevant and engaged with matters that concern the citizenry.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 10:37:49 AM EST
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