Europe

New EU commissioners face MEP grilling in Brussels

MEPs - file pic Image copyright EPA
Image caption It is the MEPs' job to keep the European Commission under close scrutiny

The nominees for posts in the next European Commission are facing confirmation hearings in the European Parliament - and some tough questioning is expected.

The shake-up of portfolios by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has upset many MEPs, the BBC's Chris Morris reports from Brussels.

The UK's Lord Hill has been assigned to financial services and capital markets. His hearing is on Wednesday.

MEPs can block Commission appointments.

Each would-be commissioner faces a public grilling lasting several hours.

Many of the questions will be about technical details of policy, less than three weeks after the nominees found out which job each of them had been given.

The hearings will be televised live on the European Parliament website.

Conflicts of interest?

Among those under particular pressure from MEPs are the Spanish and Hungarian nominees, as well as Lord Hill, our correspondent says.

A former lobbyist, he is likely to come under close scrutiny because of the Conservatives' Euroscepticism and concern about the power of bankers in the City of London.

The hearings will begin with Sweden's Cecilia Malmstroem (Trade), followed by Karmenu Vella of Malta (Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries).

The parliament is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the new Commission as a whole on 22 October.

There is particular concern among Green and Liberal MEPs that the climate action and energy jobs will be merged in one post, in the hands of a Spanish conservative, Miguel Arias Canete.

Some MEPs are also worried about having Hungary's Tibor Navracsics in charge of education, culture, youth and citizenship.

A former Hungarian justice minister, he is close to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who clashed with EU officials over alleged curbs on civil liberties.

The European Commission took legal action against Mr Orban's government over several new laws, including data protection policy and the judiciary.

Vytenis Andriukaitis (Lithuania) Health and food safety

Miguel Arias Canete (Spain) Climate action and energy

Dimitris Avramopoulos (Greece) Migration and home affairs

Elzbieta Bienkowska (Poland) Internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses)

Corina Cretu (Romania) Regional policy

Johannes Hahn (Austria) European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations

Jonathan Hill (UK) Financial stability, financial services and capital markets union

Phil Hogan (Ireland) Agriculture and rural development

Vera Jourova (Czech Republic) Justice, consumers and gender equality

Cecilia Malmstroem (Sweden) Trade

Neven Mimica (Croatia) International co-operation and development

Carlos Moedas (Portugal) Research, science and innovation

Pierre Moscovici (France) Economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs

Tibor Navracsics (Hungary) Education, culture, youth and citizenship

Guenther Oettinger (Germany) Digital economy and society

Maros Sefcovic (Slovakia) Transport and space

Christos Stylianides (Cyprus) Humanitarian aid and crisis management

Marianne Thyssen (Belgium) Employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility

Karmenu Vella (Malta) Environment, maritime affairs and fisheries

Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) Competition

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