The Economic and Monetary Affairs committee questioned Paolo Gentiloni, Italian candidate for the economy portfolio.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Commissioner-designate Gentiloni.
Stability and Growth Pact, environmental mainstreaming and taxation
During his introductory speech, Mr Gentiloni emphasised that economic growth and the transformation of economies must not go counter to pressing environmental and social priorities. He pledged to focus on reducing public debt, while also encouraging the use of any available fiscal space to invest. Overhauling the taxation framework at EU level would also top the agenda, Mr Gentiloni added.
MEPs were particularly interested in hearing Mr Gentiloni’s intentions regarding the Stability and Growth Pact, some to obtain assurance that he would ensure the rules are applied, others to understand his views on how the Pact could be reformed. Many also raised the need for the Commission to tackle tax evasion and tax havens more appropriately, namely by introducing a minimal corporate tax rate in the EU, widening the list of countries considered as tax havens, and dealing with EU member states that behave like tax havens.
Members also asked for some detail on how the proposal for a European unemployment re-insurance scheme could be fleshed out and what instruments could be considered to better manage anti-cyclical movements. Later in the hearing, MEPs raised the issues of strengthening the social dimension of the European Semester and asked how to make progress in Council on blocked pieces of legislation.
You can watch the video recording of the full hearing here.
Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.
MEPs from the budgetary affairs committee also participated in the hearing.