30.09, 1800 – Maroš Šefčovič (Transport, Space)

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Political Flair 6 / 10
Credibility 8 / 10
Energy 7 / 10
Warmth 5 / 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 5 / 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 10 / 10
Overall rating 7 / 10

It is not a giant leap to swap “inter-institutional relations” with “space policy” when you work in a place called Berlaymont. A cynic might respond that the European Commission is not the sort of environment  where giant leaps are possible anyway. But, be that as it may, you can tell that Maroš Šefčovič, the former European Commission Vice President, must have read many Commission proposals (and the infamous citizens’ summaries!) during his time in Brussels. He knows what’s going on in different DGs, he is slick and professional.

However, his opening statement was a breathless recital of a list of bullet points he seemingly copy/pasted into a document. How to put this nicely? The art of reading out loud a written statement and making it sound like a great speech is not one of Maroš Šefčovič’s strengths. It sounded like this: “Transport is at the heart of European integration … Europe needs all modes of transport … we need a sustainable and innovative transport system … I am a strong believer in [include one of EU’s transport initiatives] … transport is the backbone of modern society …  it’s important for the 21st century … it is a showcase for European competitiveness… and we need to protect the environment”. But it was almost funny to hear him promise  “cool jobs for young people” (!) in the context of “interoperable, integrated products”. And yes, he mentioned the “deep and comprehensive” approach. Well, this is just the sort of Brussels jargon nobody really understands. The substance was definitely there but the sparks were missing. And when I say substance I mean a lot  of promises.

As he has been in Brussels for a while he also knows how to flatter MEPs (maybe he remembers the rather awkward hearing 5 years ago): he not only reminded MEPs that he also ran for the European Parliament and campaigned in the election campaign he also also did a very impressive “Juncker” switching between Slovak, German, English and French.

Photo: CC License from Flickr – original source here.

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