by Frank Schnittger
Fri Sep 4th, 2020 at 03:48:42 PM EST
Andrew McDowell and Mairead McGuinness candidates for European Commission role
The Cabinet has proposed Mairead McGuinness and Andrew McDowell as candidates to replace Phil Hogan at the European Commission.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will not be one of the Government's nominees for the role of European Commissioner.
Andrew McDowell is a former Fine Gael advisor and until recently vice-president of the European Investment Bank .
Andrew McDowell is a former backroom Fine Gael Economic advisor and a political non-entity. No one seriously believes he will get the job. But Commission President Ursula Van Der Leyen had made it clear she wanted "both a women and a man, not a man and a women nominees," in the words of Leo Varadkar. Basically no man need apply, and in the end no one of substance did. Why put your present job at risk by applying for another, when you know you won't get the job?
But this is a power grab by Ursula von der Leyen. She has no right to insist on both a female and male nominee, and no right to make the final choice. She will now be under pressure to give Mairead McGuinness a meaningful portfolio, as Mairead stood a good chance of being the next President of the European Parliament and will not have wanted to give up that opportunity for a nothing job.
And yet Mairead, who is a very measured and articulate parliamentarian, has never had a ministerial post of any kind. From an Irish perspective she would have been much better off becoming the next President of the European Parliament. Foreign Minister, and former deputy Prime minister Simon Coveney would have been a much more experienced candidate had a meaningful role been made available for him.
Would Van Der Leyen have treated Germany or France with the same contempt, effectively vetoing a better qualified nominee? Does gender equality trump relevant experience and expertise? I have no doubt Mairead McGuinness will make an adequate Commissioner in some Commission role, but whatever happened to appointing the best person for the job?