29.9, 1430 – Ceclia Malmström (Trade)

malmstroem

Political Flair 8 / 10
Credibility 8/ 10
Energy 9 / 10
Warmth 9/ 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 6.5/ 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 8.5 / 10
Overall rating 8.5/ 10

Update on 2 October.

Having seen some of the others I’ve revised Malmstrom up because she was a lot better in comparison. And because she was given a harder time than some. And because she went first which is always hard.  At the moment I’m still not convinced she’s got enough  to communicate effectively with people outside Brussels.

Update on 30 September. I’ve revised down my score for the likelihood of Malmstrom being approved by the EP. I still think she’ll get through but it’s hubristic to give her a 10 especially in light of the concerns about her.

Malmstrom has done this before and you can tell. What she lacked in a coherent vision and watertight answers she made up for with warmth, enthusiasm, empathy and inclusive body language. As such, she was mostly pretty good to watch.  She even showed a flash of anger (which can be a good rhetorical aid) when pressed about the leaked emails relating to the EU/US trade talks. That said, she set out her stall early on as being all about ‘transparency and accountability’ then struggled to define what this would mean in practice. When pushed by British Tory Emma McClarkin in the Q&A she couldn’t spell out the tangible benefits of current trade agreements (e.g. Singapore) which means her speech would probably have worked for the Brussels Bubble but not a wider audience.  Her top-line grasp of the substance was impressive – she was able to reference minutiae from the Canada and Singapore agreements.  However, she needs to make trade – which she concedes is a ‘dry and technical’ subject more concrete for Europeans. Overall, she’s set the bar quite high though. Not sure if the others will be as impressive in how they hold it together.

Have a look at my #EPHearings2014 tweets (@mediawhizz) if you want to see more live comments from the actual session.

Her opening remarks can be read here.

Photo: CC License from Flickr – original source here.

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