29.9, 1430 – Karmenu Vella (Enviroment, Fisheries)

vella

Political Flair 5/10
Credibility 6 / 10
Energy 6 / 10
Warmth 6 / 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 5 / 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 8 / 10
Overall rating 5.5 / 10

I’ve revised the likelihood of Vella being accepted by the EP down to an 8. I still think he’s likely to get through but there are question marks and the lower score reflects that.

There’s no way to put this nicely but Vella looks and sounds like one of the old guard i.e. an older white man in a grey suit. Straight out of the box, he had his buzz words – ‘sustainability’, ‘circular economy’, ‘green economy’, ‘competitiveness and jobs’. Just what Brussels needs more of, right?  Vella can’t help his background and age but his liberal use of EU jargon was straight out of the hand book and won’t endear him to a disgruntled electorate or some of the MEPs. Vella was clearly well briefed and, as he quipped, if he’d spent as much time getting to grips with his university degree as he did with his portfolio then he’d have got a PhD by now. The opening remarks were composed and assured (if almost entirely read from the page) and he used examples from his time as Maltese Tourism Minister and his childhood to counter difficult questions about whether he would protect Maltese birds and fish. He also knew his way around the treaties and international fisheries treaties. But he didn’t come across as fired up or enthused about the brief and I didn’t count many smiles (from him or the MEPs).  And that matters. Overall, I’m reminded of the answer one-time Republican hopeful Fred Thompson gave to reporters when asked on a scale of 1-10 how much he wanted to be President. ‘About a 7’.

Photo: CC License from Wikipedia – original source here.

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