Smith Previews Commissioner Hearings

13 January 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) previewed the hearings of the European Commissioners-Designate, but criticised the actions of some fellow MEPs who seem intent on claiming a greater significance to the process than it actually merits.

Mr Smith has already met, on a one to one basis, with 'his' key Commissioner-Designate, Romanian nominee for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos, and was impressed with his track record and his plans for the role.

Speaking from Brussels, Smith said:

"I remember how excited I was as a newly elected MEP back in 2004 at the hearings process, and looking back at my statements then I feel a wee bit embarrassed that I took it all so seriously.

"The hearings process is a useful getting-to-know-you exercise, it allows the MEPs who will spend most time with the Commissioners to quiz them on their plans and their background, but so many of my colleagues seem to forget that the only power the Parliament has is to approve all, or none, of the nominees. We do not have a single vote on each nominee, so I have been surprised to see so many MEPs giving, or not, their support to individual nominees when they surely know better than to overstate their own importance.

"When I met with Dacian Ciolos last yearwe discussed his track record and his plans for the role, and I briefed him on how things work in Scotland. He was only too willing to agree to come to Scotland to see things for himself. I have already assured him of my support and I look forward to working with him.

"The other Commissioners are also going through their hearings, and some are more impressive than others but on the whole I think we have a better looking Commission than the last one. The main point though is that the member states have nominated the individuals, and the Parliament does not have an individual veto on anyone so much of the excitement abroad in the corridors of this building seems to me to be a little self-serving."