Weeklog Kartika Liotard : Exam week at the European Parliament

15 January 2010

Weeklog Kartika Liotard : Exam week at the European Parliament

This week the European Parliament fell under the spell of the twenty-seven hearings, one for each of Commissioners-designate, who had one-by-one to take an exam before their appointment to the European Commission could be confirmed. These exams involved the completion of a questionnaire, after which the nominees were given three hours to answer questions from MEPs.

You may be asking yourself whether any and every MEP can put questions. Or whether we can stick our hands up spontaneously if we want to respond with a question to something which a candidate has said during the ‘interrogation’.
No, of course things can never be as simple or as dynamic as that in European politics. Days beforehand, a MEP must, via his or her political group, request permission from the Parliament services.

Our group, the United Left (GUE/NGL), can put only one question per Commissioner-designate, after which that single question may be followed up, by the same Member, with one further question. So you first have to fight within you own political group for the chance to put a question, and then do this at a time determined by the services. Wonderful, isn’t it, all this spontaneity ? Long live European democracy!

But as you may know, I wasn’t so easily discouraged. Because I’m seen in the GUE/NGL as the spokesperson on the environment, public health and food safety, I was lucky enough to be able to put questions to the two Commissioners-designate who deal with these issues. Each and every one of them will, if successful, soon be in a position to interfere, from Brussels, with your lives.

To see Kartika in action, click on this link and go via the list to the hearings of John Dalli (Public Health, Consumer Affairs and Food Safety) and Connie Hedegaard (Climate).

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