Kroes wins backing from EP commission

29th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A broad majority of the economic and monetary commission of the European Parliament backed the candidacy of former Dutch government minister Neelie Kroes for the European Commission's competition portfolio after a lengthy hearing on Tuesday.

29 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — A broad majority of the economic and monetary commission of the European Parliament backed the candidacy of former Dutch government minister Neelie Kroes for the European Commission's competition portfolio after a lengthy hearing on Tuesday.

Dutch Liberal VVD MEP Jules Maaten said the Christian Democrat, Liberal and Socialist factions in the Parliament were "positive" about her candidacy. Democrat D66 MEP Sophia in 't Veld also said there was talk of support for the  61-year-old businesswoman.

Maaten said a proposal from the chairperson of the EP commission, French Socialist Pervenche Beres, to request that Kroes be given another portfolio was rejected, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

But the commission still wants to study the legal advice from the EC over how Kroes should act when required to give rulings on companies she has previously been involved with. The commission also has questions about the relationship between Kroes and the EP.

Kroes has been under fire for alleged illegal conduct and threatened conflicts of interest due to her extensive business history. But she told the parliamentary commission on Tuesday that her experience as a government minister and business leader was a trump card.

If appointed, Kroes will be required to decide whether companies are operating unfair monopolies in contravention of EU law. She promised recently to refrain from ruling on companies she has been involved with in the past, often as a member of the board of commissioners.

Concerns remained though and during the hearing in Parliament on Tuesday, Kroes refused to fully answer questions of what she would do if the EP did not have confidence in her.

It is a question the EP wants an answer to now, because the issue could become relevant in the course of Kroes' commissionership, if appointed.

The various parliamentary commissions are examining the EC candidates in the coming week. They will then issue advice and the entire Parliament must give a judgment on the proposed make up of the new European Commission at the end of next month.

The Parliament cannot reject individual commissions, but it can reject the entire commission. The new EC must take up office from 1 November.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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