Public hearings: grilling time for Commissioners


From 29 September and until 7 October, the attention of lobbyists – those based in Brussels but also beyond the Belgian capital – will turn to the European Parliament (EP). Its members (MEPs) will question the Commissioner-to-be that each of the 28 Member States has designated to become a member in the new Commission headed by the former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker.

A grand coalition agreement between the two largest groups in the Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) – plus the Liberals- signed in the aftermath of the May European elections ensures that the process to screen each candidate and validate the Commission team as a whole is relatively uneventful as neither the centre-left nor the centre-right are going to vote against a nominee from the other side. If everything goes according to plan, the evaluation process will be closed by the Conference of Presidents on 9 October and the full team will be voted by the EP Plenary on 22 October.

Still, as it was the case five years ago, when the 2nd Barroso Commission was examined by MEPs, the Parliament will flex its muscle and force the replacement of one, two or three of the candidates. Alternatively, MEPs could invite Juncker to re-consider the provisional allocation of portfolios and the suitability of certain candidates to fulfil their missions. Some candidates are rumoured to be looking the most vulnerable because of different concerns about their backgrounds, their political affiliation, or the portfolios they have been assigned.

None of the key names in the EBF’s watch-list is expected to however give rise to particular concerns:

  • Jonathan Hill (UK) on Financial Stability, Financial Services & Capital Markets Union – Hearing is on 1.10
  • Pierre Moscovici (FR), on Economic & Financial Affairs, Taxation & Customs Union – Hearing is on 2.10
  • Jyrki Katainen (FI), Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment & Competitiveness – Hearing is on 7 October

The European Banking Federation will closely monitor the hearings process as responses from Commissioner-designates will contribute to outlining further the forthcoming multi-annual work plan of the European Commission. Further light is likely to be shed over concepts that remain so far vague, such as the idea to establish a Capital Markets Union or plans to kick-start securitisation markets.


EBF contacts: