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by Migeru Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 05:43:31 AM EST

European Parliament: New legislature, new Commission: The European Parliament elects the new European Commission.

Hearings

The candidates are invited to public hearings by the appropriate parliamentary committee(s). They answer questions from MEPs to assess their abilities, particularly to deal with the issues in their portfolios. The committees' evaluations are then examined by Parliament's President and political group leaders.

The hearings can be followed online. Today's programme, from the European Parliament's news portal, is
1300-1600 CET: Catherine Ashton Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Janusz Lewandowski, candidate for Budget and financial programming.

1630-1930: Olli Rehn, Economic and monetary affairs and Andris Piebalgs - Development.

If you have the time and the inclination to follow the proceedings through the EP's website we'd love to see your coverage, comments and analysis in the comments to this story on in your own diaries.


Commisioner confirmation live blogging:

Display:
There's no real need to bookmark the European Parliament's news portal. Just google "European Parliament News" and you will be pointed there.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 05:46:17 AM EST
When i finally found the live video stream, in true Brussels fashion, i received all language translations at once.  Hah. i blame apple.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 07:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now twice.  It's not apple.  Back to windpower.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 07:50:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, that's a great effect. Not very informative though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's that for our attempt at primary-source journalism. I guess we'll have to fall back on feeding of the non-existent or at best shallow mainstream media coverage of the hearings. Sucks to be a blog.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:14:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reported to the webmaster

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May be working in-browser in Windows under Parallels. Yes, I'm getting the English translation.

Some asshole Brit wants to know if she's ever been to a military unit except at "Greenham Common". Tory?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:20:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so it is a safari problem?  i'll try firefox.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:29:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's a Flip4Mac problem.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Thank you for your message.

The format of the live broadcast video feed of Parliament is WMV. On some operating systems you cannot read this format directly in your browser. It is then possible to use an external media player to view the video feed. To do this use the link given under the video window, and paste this address into your media player.
You will find more information on our help page:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/wps-europarl-internet/frd/help/help-with-menu?currentSei=SEI1&lang uage=en

Do not hesitate to contact us should you need further information.

Kind regards,
Europarl Webmaster"

webmaster@europarl.europa.eu

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:38:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, Frau Ashton speaks english in certain browsers.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my work internet censors the page, so I can't follow at all, and won't be able to help, unfortunately.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Complain that you won't be able to follow the hearings of the Energy, Internal Market, Financial Affairs, or Environment commissioners, which you would like to do for professional reasons.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this case I won't bother, because this is not just about allowing certain websites, this is about allowing certain software that's completely verboten. All video players are blocked, as is most Java - and we're still using an old-ish version of IE so many sites don't display properly anyway...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heavy symbolism.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:19:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for posting this!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 06:23:52 AM EST
It took all of 5 minutes to set up. Anyone could have done it.

But thanks.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:14:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FYI. There is an EU AV service that is worth exploring. I signed up for it (to get EU stock shots) and get regular email updates. It's all free of charge and free of copyright for "EU-related information and education purposes". (which means us)

It's not so user-friendly, but you can find video and stills of events (plus transcripts of meetings and interviews).

IMO they have the will to improve these services and more feedback from people like us will help them to improve it. It is an ongoing and massive AV project - glitches are to be expected. Our support will ensure improving transparency.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reply from webmaster above.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Linked to in yesterday's Salon, is this coverage by Euractiv:

EurActiv.com - Tension mounts ahead of EU 'job interviews' | EU - European Information on EU Priorities 2020

Parliament sources told EurActiv that the hearings will concentrate mostly on policy and less on the personality of the candidates, although some will need to "come clean" about their past or conflicts of interest. 

As a novelty, centre-left MEPs invited members of the public to submit online questions to commissioners-designate. In a press release, Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group Vice-President Hannes Swoboda (Austria) says his group wants to make sure that "only the best possible candidates" are appointed for the next five-year term. 

Communist 'witch hunt'? 

Swoboda also appears to pre-empt attacks by the centre-right on the "communist past" of some candidates, presumably Slovak Maroš Šefčovič, Czech Štefan Füle and Estonian Siim Kallas. 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 06:46:31 AM EST
Trying to dodge a question on where here
 loyalties lie between Council and Commission.

Wow. She said "highest common factor" and "lowest common denominator".

Believed Iraq War war was correct thing to do when she was minister at the time, based on what she knew. Humph.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:25:12 AM EST
The process is actually hard to follow: the format is three one minute questions followed by a three minute answer to those three questions if she has time to answer. One MEP very grumpy about not getting their question answered in Ashton's three minutes.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also hard to interpret questions when it's not obvious who the questioner actually is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also trying to defend member states "going alone" on defence matters, though pretending not to know that the questioner was referring to UK in Iraq.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She sounds reliably Atlanticist on Cuba.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Delightful anti-Russia question for her. This should be fun. "What can you do to stop Russia practising sphere-of-influence".

Ashton: develop a "pro-active positive relationship with Russia." Trying to gently move away from the fear-of-Russia position.

The EU Commission is planning to fund a TV channel in Farsi? It is? WTF?

Ashton: have to talk and enforce rules. I.e. not saying anything.

MEPs can't count: one question at a time? Hah.

Question about Mutual Assistance clause from Lisbon. What happens if someone declares war on a member state?

Ashton: Don't know. We have to decide how to implement.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now we get questions from committees. Questions from one committee, then two minutes to answer.

EAS = External Action Service.

External Development is responsibility of Development Commissioner, but will be embedded in EAS, which I guess is our new diplomatic service.

Somebody wants a European Diplomatic School. She's not planning one, but might end up having one.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Budgetary control committee: will Parliament be able to exercise financial control over the EAS?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ashton: not if I can help it. Transparency and overview yes. Need flexibilities in the budget. Think of what happened with Yemen in the last few weeks. (Answer: not a damn thing changed.)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How will you cooperate with the Trade Commissioner? How will EAS handle external trade representation, will you make sure it's kept free of intra-state contamination?

Ashton: Will cooperate well. Trade is important.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 08:54:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back to three individuals at a time.

What are we going to do in Afghanistan? Co-ordination with NGOs?

Ashton: 70 countries going to conference on Afghanistan at end of the year. She always gives reasons for talking to the Brits. Suggestion EU might merge their non-military efforts there. Better co-ordinate in future.

How are we going to stop states doing energy deals bi-laterally?

Ashton: diversify energy sources - wind, solar, nuclear - diversify pipelines. Might have dropped in remark implying Brits need more support from others on gas.

Someone slapping down Tory who was mean about the nuclear disarmament activity. How about having the EU take the lead on nuclear disarmament?

Ashton: I cant make anything out of her answer.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:00:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trans-atlantic relationship: what are you going to do to recast it?

Ashton: Don't know yet.

Someone calling for human rights pressure on foreign countries to stop persecuting western christian denominations.

Ashton: we should consider it.

Chap calling for hearings on the appointment of special representatives in front of MEPs.

Ashton: not convinced that having them come and go through a process that isn't in the treaty is a good idea.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a plan for Ukraine and relations with its soon to be elected new President?

Ashton: we'll have to see what happens.

More about US relationship: what do you think of Parliaments proposals earlier in the year.

Ashton: Hope we can get the EU and US legislatures to talk to each other.

Can you get those countries that haven't recognised Kosovo to come into line?

Ashton: Not getting into this right now. Let's talk about something else.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:12:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Got to go have lunch. Fun question on human rights vs. trade just now.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:16:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for all the liveblogging!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:22:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK righties are back again: if you and your CND buddies had had your way then Eastern Europe wouldn't be free. You were dead wrong about the most important diplomatic issue ever.

Ashton: not dignifying that with a direct answer. General talk about freedom follows.

Someone else wants to know what EU can do about nonproliferation. What are we going to do about the NPT Review conference and the START treaty?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tickled by Tannock on her CND commitment, Ashton gives spirited defence: she wants the job so she can stay true to her youthful ideals which are the fundamental values of this House.

On START treaty progress: she wants to work towards disarmament "what did you expect me to say?" (laughter).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:36:56 AM EST
Northstream and pipelines: we want diversity for energy security. She wants a pipe to move in two directions, apparently this is a jest.

She's been watching Ukraine carefully recently, and luckily Ukraine has been paying its bills.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:41:03 AM EST
Greens disappointed by alck of commitment on their issues. What are her criteria? How can she be a strong woman defending peace and green issues.

Ashton: What Europe must do across the world is security. This means peace but security from climate change. Europe has to represent peace, conflict prevention, stability (inc environment) across the world.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 09:44:37 AM EST

European Parliament: Round-up: Ashton, Lewandowski, Piebalgs & Rehn hearings Monday

Ashton pledges credibility to EU foreign policy

"Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East, Somalia and Yemen are clearly among some of the top priorities" according to the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in her confirmation hearing Monday. She said the EU was now able to assume a "stronger, more credible role in the world".

...

Lewandowski: "Europe is not ready for a European tax"

The idea of an EU tax, a review and possible prolongation of EU's multi-annual budget and irregularities in spending of EU funds were some of the key questions put to Polish Budgets Commissioner-designate, Janusz Lewandowski, by the Budget and Budgetary Control committees.

...

Piebalgs: EU must be "champion" of development aid

Andris Piebalgs, the Latvian Commissioner-designate for Development fielded questions on the key aim of development policy, fighting poverty, as well as aid effectiveness, the impact of climate change on developing countries and co-ordination among EU policy makers.
...

Rehn - Stability and Growth pact must be adhered to

An exit strategy to the current crisis and healthier public finances are what Finnish Economic Affairs Commissioner-designate, Olli Rehn, called for in his hearing with MEPs on Monday. He said that he intended to "provide future perspectives for jobs and prosperity, growth and stability".

...



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 at 04:14:01 AM EST


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