When I watched the Elżbieta Bieńkowska hearing, and scored it 5/10, little did I know how much controversy that score would cause. It has been hit back and forth online now for days, becoming a political football in Polish politics in some way. There are also a bunch of comments under the post.
I’m going to explain the background of this a little further.
First, before this hearing I have never heard a speech given by Bieńkowska. Before she was nominated to be a member of Juncker’s Commission I had never even heard of her. I have no party political affiliation in Poland, nor indeed with any of the parties that are scrapping over her nomination. So make of it what you like, but I am in no way playing any Polish political game. I do not give a damn about that.
Second, as Polish MEP Róża Thun points out in this tweet:
— Róża Thun (@rozathun) October 6, 2014
I do own the Twitter account @BienkowskaEU. But this, like @ZapateroEU, @PascalLamyEU, @TimmermansEU and a number of others I own are just placeholders. They are not fakes, as Thun alleges. I register placeholder accounts just in case they might be useful in the future, and if the politician in question wants the account I will hand it over to them, for free.
Third, this whole project is about Commissioners’ ability (or not) to communicate. In my view Bieńkowska failed on this, and that is the reason for the low score – pure and simple. Her opening statement was a stream of soundbites, and her responses to MEPs were not any better. She had no clear rhetoric about what she would do in the post, nor an ability to communicate this to an audience beyond Brussels, and that is what we are looking for in this project.
Her communications were not very good, in my view, and that is why she received a low score. Why is that so complicated?