02.10, 1330 – Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Internal Market, Industry)


Political Flair 5 / 10
Credibility 6 / 10
Energy 7 / 10
Warmth 4 / 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 4 / 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 9 / 10
Overall rating 5 / 10

Jobs and growth!

There can be no sustainable growth without a solid industrial base!

Industry is the heart of the real economy!

Goods and services are mutually dependent!

We need to boost industry’s competitiveness!

My approach will be comprehensive and will encompass all sectors!

Health and safety come first! (oh, hang on, wasn’t that jobs and growth?)

Let’s put Europe back to work!

So was the style of Bieńkowska’s hearing; it was in the Pizza Quattro Stagioni approach to hearings – give every member of the European Parliament a bit of a good taste, but at the expense of lacking any overall coherence. She also name checked half of her fellow Commissioners, trying to give the impression of being a collegial player.

Bieńkowska mostly read from a written script, clearly tried to cover a lot, and was high on slogans and sound-bites, and low on concrete policy commitments. Everything was a priority for her, meaning it was hard to tell what her priority actually was. A question from the S&D group tried to get more information about the balance of free markets and investment, and here too she tried to present both sides.

There is also something rather strange about Bieńkowska’s delivery, either in English (her initial statement) or in Polish (when answering) – she comes across as very stern and formal, patronising almost in her body language. Occasionally when answering questions she became more animated, and started to move her hands and engage MEPs in eye contact and came across better than in the initial statement.

Photo: CC License from flickr – original source here.

15 thoughts on “02.10, 1330 – Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Internal Market, Industry)

  1. Me123

    How is it that the highest rating received by this person is:
    “the likelihood of being approved?”
    Shouldn’t this rating have some correlation to the ratings in other areas?
    It looks like no matter what the other ratings say, this person will be confirmed because of some obscure political backing.
    How does it relate to fairness, transparency and democracy? Looks like this nomination process has nothing to do with any principles of fairness, transparency and decency. It’s a pure power game conducted behind the scene in total disregard for public opinion. Are there any ethical standards in this process?

    1. Andreas

      Yes, you are right. The “likelihood of being approved” is not correlated to the other indicators – but it shows that even if you fail all other criteria you may still be approved by the EP. That is also known as ‘politics’. Plus, the ability to communicate clearly is not one of the main priorities for the EP…

      1. hecer

        “That is also known as ‘politics’.”

        It seems that Polish approach to the EU is purely political.

        “Plus, the ability to communicate clearly is not one of the main priorities for the EP…”

        Madame Bieńkowska hasn’t answered any question. She was basically rephrasing them adding the issues she was asked to develop to the list of her priorites.

        “Pizza quattro stagioni” – exactly.

  2. asand

    Deliberate choice of a clearly unfavourable picture of the candidate, out of tens if not hundreds available, and doing so even before the hearing of the candidate, is a mistake even the beginning communication trainers cannot afford to avoid suspicion of lacking unbiased and impartial judgement.

  3. Peter

    Do not be surprised, this is how Polish polical environment communicates – they talk to themselves, not to the audience, which is perceived as too stupid to understand.

    1. Wiesław

      Absolutely right. Glad that at last some broader audience shares my opinion. Polish politicians are selfsatisfied fools. Let them talk and listen. Abyss.

  4. P.

    Bieńkowska (…) clearly tried to cover a lot, and was high on slogans and sound-bites, and low on concrete policy commitments. – just like every other member of her party 🙂 This isn’t surprising at all.

  5. Krzysztof

    Mainstream media in Poland announced Bienkowska hearing as a great success.
    This is what happens if you have quotas for women. And she is there only because of the quota.
    So we have former communist running foreign affairs and former assistant in the local administration unit in charge of internal market and industry.
    Americans will eat her for breakfast during incoming free trade agreement. Just unbelievable.

  6. Ralf

    She represents German-Soviet Condominium forces occupying Poland. Do not expect too much…

  7. Jon Post author

    A few replies from me, the author of this piece!

    @Me123 – I agree with the comment of @Andreas here. These hearings are a power game. So the European Parliament will approve Bieńkowska, despite the fact that she put in a poor performance in my view. She showed vaguely that she will listen to the EP, will not have a strong agenda against the EP, and hence she will be approved. Sadly the EP seems to have as little idea about how to get the EU’s economy growing as Bieńkowska does! And how she communicated was of course not a factor for the EP at all, but was for us running this site.

    @asand – We have to use the pics that we can find that are Creative Commons Licensed, and hence can be legally used. That does not give us many to choose from. Look at the pictures used for other Commissioners – they are a mixed bag. So you cannot draw any conclusions here from the choice of picture.

    @Wiesław – Not sure she was self-satisfied, or a fool. She is just a typical post-modern, post-ideological politician in my view – it’s impossible to know what she actually stands for, but this very opaqueness is what makes her a qualified success in the political game, but hence not with any wider audience.

    @Krzysztof – I don’t much care what the Polish media says here. I tried to look at this hearing from a communications perspective, having never before heard a performance from her. She was vague and did not communicate well, hence the low score. As I write above she will almost certainly be approved, so in that regard the hearing was a sort of success I suppose…

    1. Wiesław

      You are right. I am deeply dissapointed with the message that comes from the polish politicians. They never say that European Funds come frome taxes of cictizens of other countries. Never! Their thesis is that Poland receives funds from EU, because they have negotiated it from EU and that Western politicians are they friends. I can’t uderstand why the hell Europe is helping countries like Poland with funds? Bangladesh is a country that needs help, not Poland. What a shamefull situation. After 25 years of freedom Poland became a beggar.
      I would rephrase Bieńkowska – Poland get to work

  8. Jon Post author

    Oh, and I am now being accused of poor journalism here. Even if a blogging project run by volunteers like this is ‘journalism’, let me explain the scores as I see them – the Overall score for Bieńkowska above is the average of the scores for the categories *except* likelihood to be approved by the EP. So she scores 26/50, meaning average of 5.2, rounded to 5.

  9. Rafal

    unbeliavable, in polish biased media they are telling she was great and it wasa great success. what a bunch of liars.


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