Author Archives: Alexandre

#EPHearings2014 Scorecard [Infographics]

I know, it’s only Tuesday night and there will (or might) be other hearings scheduled in the following days. But, as every candidate had the chance to get into the lions pit (and for some, let’s say it’s been painful), let’s have a quick look on how our dear candidates played it. Just to let you know, a couple of remarks before reading the datas :

    • As the “likelyhood to being approved by the EP” remains more as a political criteria than a true “communications” one, we did not use it to calculate the overall rating for each of these commissionners.
  • Concerning Jonathan Hill, we did calculate an average grade for his two performances.

We hope you’ll enjoy it !

06.10, 1430 – Valdis Dombrovskis (Euro, Social Dialogue)


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

As her fellow Vp-designate Bratusek was on the grill at the same time, attention has not been so hard on Dombrovskis hearing, one of the VP that could have a very large portfolio with euro and Social Dialogue, especially with Moscovici raising several doubts in the European Parliament. “Cooperation, democracy, jobs, growth, iron curtain, peace, european values”. In the first two minutes of his preliminary speech, Dombrovskis has already put on stage all european and Juncker-commission keywords.

Moreover, his very technocratic speech is clearly the kind that ordinary people don’t get, focusing on macro-economic, stabilization, etc. The social dialogue is only here in 3 or 4 sentences, with a very blur program. Eventually, Dombrovskis was more confident on all economic subjects, opening his arms, using his gands and less reading his briefings.

But, everything went down on any sensible questions on how he will work. For instance, on the transparency, on how the VPs and commissionners will work together, he seems very defensive. Will he represent the eurozone ? Who will take decisions on euro policies ? How the Commission will work with the Parliament ? Everytime on these subjects, Dombrowskis withdrew behind his crossed arms and the official position on the Juncker team, clearly showing he’s the “I don’t know yet but I won’t tell you” guy.

One can think that after a start in latvian and a follow up in english, the language was maybe the reason to talk with a monoton voice. But it’s not, reading his sheets with few body language and eye contact, Dombrovskis is surely a commissionar that will not bring any charism into the next Commission team.

Photo: CC License from flickr – original source here.

02.10, 1330 – Kristalina Georgieva (Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources)

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 14.37.10

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

Here we are: the Vice-Presidents or also called supercommissionners positions are finally on the EP grill. And after numerous rumors about getting one of the EU top jobs, Kristalina Georgieva has eventually been designated for a very political portfolio : Budget and Human Resources. With a good work as Commissionner in charge of Humanitarian aid, she’s been awaited by all the Brussels Bubble.

Under pressure of 3 committees, she started with a very didactic speech, facing and being realistic of the issues but also describing a program in different time scales : what she will do in her first days at the office but also in mid-term and facing the next MFF issue. She spoke from a very citizen-oriented point of view, talking about taxpayers money, tackling fraud as waste of money and hitting EU values.

After these first 15 minutes, she’s been on the grill especially on Budget questions, but linked to all the political dimensions of the Union (Gender equality, solidarity, global warming, etc.). She always seemed very comfortable, aswering all questions without any briefing and always looking at MEPs.

She also repeated her commitment to make these issues understable for european people, insisting on credibility and transparency of the EU. For instance, she called for an evaluation on some financial innovative tools, which raises concerns over the left, and said that if something does not work, the Commission must not be afraid to cancel something instead of generalizing it. Eventually, she’s been really realistic, saying she was disappointed the MFF has been lowered, but saying that this frame will not change. She also said that it was impossible to predict all the effect of a 7 year budget framework, calling for dialogue and evaluation.

If she gets into the office and take the floor for Q&A with people, she can be one of the forefront commissionner of the Juncker team.

Photo: CC License from wikipedia – original source here.

02.10, 0900 – Phil Hogan (Agriculture & Rural Development)

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 14.37.10

Political Flair 8 / 10
Credibility 9 / 10
Energy 7/ 10
Warmth 6 / 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 7/ 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 8 / 10
Overall rating 8 / 10

With a shy opening speech, arms crossed, reading a statement with a low and monotone voice, Phil Hogan’s hearing first seemed just like what you don’t want to see to convince people this is a very interesting democratic moment. In this statement, he reminded us of his youth spent in a farm and his political experience at all levels to justify his nomination as Commissioner-designate.

But when the Q&A time arrived he seemed very comfortable with all subjects, often answering the MEPs by looking at them without reading any notes. He also got a laugh from the committee when a British MEP invited him to visit his farm to be conscious of the difficulty farmers face, and have been hard and tough when a Irish MEP’s questionned him on internal Sinn Fail issues during the hearings.

He showed his knowledge and his preparation on the big issues like TTIP, milk quotas or Russian sanctions and their consequences on EU agriculture. When it came to more specific subjects, like olive oil, he recognised with a smile that he did not know yet the subject, saying the olive oil production has not been on his radar while he was in the irish government.  He also reminded the keywords of the Juncker Commission (jobs and growth), quoted Cecilia Malmstrom’s hearing, already showing some collegial framework and mentioned that he will be reporting to 2 VPs in the Commission, especially on biofuels, showing a transversal approach in his portfolio.

In the end I lowered his ability to connect with people outside the bubble because of his opening speech, which was only in English. If the only glance people will have of Phil Hogan are speeches in the press room, he will certainly not be able to engage his audience. But in visiting farms in every country (which he committed to do) and engaging conversations, he can convince a lot of people on his views on EU agriculture policies.

Photo: CC License from flickr – original source here.