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"This time it's different" - Parliamentary hearings

Institutions12-09-2014 - 11:41
Anointed as Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker lays out the EU's priorities and commitments for the coming years with a focus on energy, welfare and prosperity.   Parliamentary hearings

Before the commissioners-designate as presented by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can take office and start work, members of the European Parliament will exercise their power of democratic scrutiny enshrined in the Treaty by holding hearings to quiz the 27 candidates on their skills and their qualifications for the posts proposed to them.

These hearings, which will be public, will take place from 29 September to 7 October. The candidates will be heard by the parliamentary committee(s) active in their proposed fields of responsibility.

After each hearing, the committee will meet in camera to draft its evaluation of the candidate's expertise and performance which will then be sent to the Conference of Presidents, Parliament’s political group leaders. In the past, these hearings led to candidates withdrawing or having their portfolios changed.

For more detailed and continuously updated information on the hearings, see

REF. : 20140912BKG61803
Updated: ( 29-09-2014 - 17:08)

Timetable for hearings by the Parliament

29 September to 7 October: public hearings of Commissioners-designate before the parliamentary committees relevant to their proposed fields of responsibility.

22 October: European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg where the Commission President, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and candidate Vice-President of the Commission and other Commissioners-designate need to be approved in a vote of consent by Parliament by a majority of votes cast. If approved, they can be appointed by the Council, acting by a qualified majority.

1 November: the European Commission 2014-2019 starts its mandate and takes office.


Timeline of events

22-25 May 2014: citizens of 28 European Union Member States elected 751 members of the European Parliament. The EPP again emerged as the biggest political group in Parliament, with 221 MEPs. The EPP party candidate for Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Eurogroup chairman, was therefore first in line to seek the support of EP political groups for his nomination.

27 June 2014: the European Council of EU government leaders officially nominated Mr Juncker as its candidate for President of the next European Commission, with 26 countries in favour and two against.

8 and 9 July: Mr Juncker made a statement to Parliament in plenary session in Strasbourg, followed by a debate with the political group leaders. MEPs elected him as Commission President with 422 votes in favour, 250 against and 47 abstentions out of 729 votes cast.

mid-July: the Commission sent Member States requests to propose their candidate Commissioners.

30 August: the European Council appointed Ms Federica Mogherini as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and candidate Vice-President of the Commission and Mr Donald Tusk as next President of European Council.

5 September: Incoming Commission President presented the list of Commissioners-designate.

10 September: Commission President Juncker announced the allocation of portfolios to the various candidate Commissioners and set out his plans for the future organisation of the European Commission.

16 - 18 September: the Conference of Committee Chairs and Conference of Presidents of the EP decided how the hearings will be held, i.e. before which forums each Commissioner-designate will have to appear, and finalised the time schedule for the hearings. Committees sent written questions to the Commissioners-designate.

26 September noon: deadline for candidates to reply to written questions


Commissioners' Hearings in previous terms

In 2004 José Manuel Barroso was nominated by the European Council on 30 June. Hearings took place from 27 September to 8 October. Three commissioners came under fire from Parliamentary committees, Rocco Buttiglione, (Italy: Justice, Freedom and Security) Ingrida Udre (Latvia: Taxation) and Laszlo Kovacs (Hungary: Energy). The vote on the Commission had been scheduled for 27 October in Strasbourg, but Barroso concluded that the first team he had put forward would not obtain enough support from MEPs, and therefore opted not to submit this team to a vote of approval by Parliament. On 4 November he presented a new team to the European Council. Rocco Buttiglione was replaced by Franco Frattini and Ingrida Udre by Andris Piebalgs. M. Kovacs stayed but was assigned the portfolio of Taxation rather than energy. New hearings were organised on 15 and 16 November for the three commissioners-designate and the Parliament approved the reshuffled Commission on 18 November 2004.

On 10 February 2010 the election of the European Commission brought to an end almost 5 months of nomination process, stalled due to delays in the ratification of the Lisbon treaty. In January 2010 Commission President José Manuel Barroso had to withdraw the candidate from Bulgaria, Ms Rumiana Jeleva, who came under fire from the EP Development Committee. She was replaced by Kristalina Georgieva and after her hearing on 3 February the Parliament approved the full Commission at the plenary in Strasbourg by 488 in favour to 137 against and 72 abstentions.



Procedure for EP hearings of the Commissioners-designate

The European Parliament committees sent written questions to the Commissioners-designate on 18 September. By 26 September each candidate had to respond to at least five questions:

-    two general questions common to all,- the first on general competence, European commitment and personal independence, and the second on management of the portfolio and cooperation with Parliament and

-    three questions from the committee responsible. Joint committees may also put an additional two questions each.

From 29 September to 7 October, the Commissioners-designate will be heard by the European Parliament committees relevant to their proposed fields of responsibility. The hearings are held in public and broadcast and web-streamed live.

Where portfolios are mixed, there are three options for the hearings:

-    if the portfolio falls within the remit of a single committee, the candidate will be heard only by that committee;

-    if the portfolio falls more or less equally within the remit of more than one committee, the candidate will be heard jointly by those committees;

-    if the portfolio falls mainly within the remit of one and only to a small extent within that of another committee, the candidate will be heard by the committee mainly responsible, with the association of the other committee or committees.

The hearing of the First Vice-President designate Frans Timmermans will have a different format. He will appear before a Conference of Presidents open to all MEPs in view of his horizontal responsibilities.

Each hearing will last three hours. Candidates may make an opening statement of no longer than 15 minutes. Where possible, questions will be grouped together by theme. The bulk of the speaking time will be allotted to political groups. Before the end of the hearing, the candidate will have the chance to make a brief closing statement.

Each committee will then meet in camera to draft its evaluation of the candidate's expertise and performance, and then send it to the President of the Parliament. In the past, these hearings have sometimes led to candidates withdrawing or having their portfolio changed.

Where committees require further information in order to complete their evaluation, the President will write on their behalf to the incoming President of the Commission.

The committees' evaluations will be examined by the committee chairs and presented to the Conference of Presidents, which will declare the hearings closed.


Commissioners-designate and portfolios


High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy

Federica Mogherini


First Vice-President for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights

Frans Timmermans


Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources

Kristalina Georgieva


Vice-President for Energy Union

Alenka Bratušek


Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

Jyrki Katainen


Vice-President for The Euro and Social Dialogue

Valdis Dombrovskis


Vice-President for Digital Single Market

Andrus Ansip




Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

Vĕra Jourová

(Czech Republic)

Digital Economy and Society

Günther Oettinger


Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs

Pierre Moscovici


Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

Marianne Thyssen


Regional Policy

Corina Crețu


European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

Johannes Hahn


Migration and Home Affairs

Dimitris Avramopoulos


Health and Food Safety

Vytenis Andriukaitis


Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Jonathan Hill

(United Kingdom)

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Elżbieta Bieńkowska


Climate Action and Energy

Miguel Arias Cañete


International Cooperation and Development

Neven Mimica



Margrethe Vestager


Transport and Space

Maroš Šefčovič



Cecilia Malmström


Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Karmenu Vella


Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship

Tibor Navracsics


Research, Science and Innovation

Carlos Moedas


Agriculture and Rural Development

Phil Hogan


Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

Christos Stylianides



Useful information

A dedicated website is available containing all information and news on the hearings of the candidate Commissioners before the European Parliament committees. Information includes the Commissioners' CVs and relevant procedures and documents.

The website will also feature live webstreaming and VODs of all hearings.

Infographics are available on the news portal of the European Parliament's website

Press officers for the different policy areas and nationalities are available for further information, both in Brussels and in the capitals of member states. Link to the contact list is below this section.

Audiovisual media

For audiovisual media, a dedicated website will offer broadcast-quality material

Media library on Commissioners' hearings 1995 - 2014

Europe by satellite, EbS

For further information, contact the hotline/newsdesk

Social media

Follow our Twitter accounts for latest updates on timing, practical information and live coverage of the hearings. The specialised Twitter accounts are listed in the next sestion.

EP PressService       @EuroParlPress

There will also be a Twitter dashboard for every hearing, using a word cloud to show in real time the meeting-related topics most discussed on

A Tumblr account will offer access to 27 Storify files, aggregating material from each hearing:

European Parliament will also cover the hearings on its social media profiles:

            - Facebook

            - Instagram

- Flickr   

- Storify 


Parliament Committees' Twitter accounts


Hearings timetable

Monday 29 September



14.30 - 17.30


JAN 2Q2 - Karmenu VELLA (Malta), ENVI/ PECH

JAN 4Q2 - Cecilia MALMSTRÖM (Sweden), INTA


18.30 - 21.30


JAN 2Q2- Neven MIMICA (Croatia), DEVE

JAN 4Q2 - Günther OETTINGER (Germany), ITRE/ CULT



Tuesday 30 September



09.00 - 12.00


JAN 2Q2 - Carlos MOEDAS (Portugal), ITRE

JAN 4Q2 - Vytenis ANDRIUKAITIS (Lithuania), ENVI


13.30 - 16.30


JAN 2Q2- Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS (Greece), LIBE

JAN 4Q2 - Johannes HAHN (Austria), AFET

18.00 - 21.00


JAN 2Q2- Christos STYLIANIDES (Cyprus), DEVE

JAN 4Q2 - Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ (Slovakia), TRAN




Wednesday 1 October



09.00 - 12.00


JAN 2Q2 - Corina CREŢU (Romania), REGI


JAN 4Q2 - Marianne THYSSEN (Belgium), EMPL


13.30 - 16.30


JAN 2Q2- Jonathan HILL (UK), ECON


18.00 - 21.00


JAN 2Q2- Tibor NAVRACSICS (Hungary), CULT





Thursday 02 October



09.00 - 12.00


JAN 2Q2 - Pierre MOSCOVICI (France), ECON

JAN 4Q2 - Phil HOGAN (Ireland), AGRI


13.30 - 16.30


JAN 2Q2- Kristalina GEORGIEVA (Bulgaria), BUDG/ CONT/ JURI

JAN 4Q2 - Elżbieta BIEŃKOWSKA (Poland), ITRE/ IMCO

18.00 - 21.00


JAN 2Q2- Margarethe VESTAGER (Denmark), ECON




Monday 6 October


14.30 - 17.30



JAN 4Q2 - Alenka BRATUŠEK (Slovenia), ITRE/ ENVI

18.30 - 21.30


JAN 2Q2- Andrus ANSIP (Estonia), IMCO

JAN 4Q2 - Federica MOGHERINI (Italy), AFET




Tuesday 7 October


10.00 - 13.00


JAN 2Q2 - Jyrki KATAINEN (Finland), ECON/ EMPL/ ITRE

14.30 - 17.30

JAN 2Q2 - Frans TIMMERMANS (The Netherlands), Open Conference of Presidents

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