Hahn, who according to one centre-right source gave a "very good" performance and had "clearly done his homework," argued that regional policy is an EU success story and should be maintained as a Community priority.
As regards budget matters, the Austrian said he would fight for a similar share of the EU budget, which sees over a third of EU money going to regional policy, though he cautioned there was no guarantee he would get it.
Citing the need to bring regional policy goals in line with the overarching 'EU 2020' strategy, he told MEPs he would divert more regional funds into innovation, research and education.
Speaking to EurActiv after MEPs met to assess Hahn's performance, Danuta Hübner, chair of the Parliament's regional policy committee and herself a former regional commissioner, said that his "competence and knowledge" struck the right note with parliamentarians.
A new policy for cities?
Hahn, a Vienna native, gave particular emphasis to finding new urban policies aimed at improving the contribution of European cities to regional development goals. Different cities face different challenges, he argued, and a more proactive urban policy was needed to bring regional cities into the planning process.
Hubner, Hahn's predecessor as regional commissioner, told EurActiv that this emphasis on cities was "extremely important".
Despite improvements in recent years, Hübner claimed that the EU has still not delegated enough power to the cities. In the last round of funding, the Commission failed to convince member states to fund programmes specifically for cities, she said, adding that she hoped this would change under Hahn.
"Cities will be the most important drivers for growth" under Hahn's mandate, Hübner argued.
Hahn also advocated improvements in urban environment policy, given that "cities waste a lot of energy". Diverting funds toward energy efficient housing could be one solution, he said.
Better management through keeping it regional
The Austrian repeatedly spoke of the need for an integrated approach, arguing that it would not be possible to develop regional policy any further "unless we have a model of shared management".
His dream, he claimed, is that ultimately all financial operational control for funding will take place at the national level, allowing the Commission to focus on the big picture questions concerning the future of regional policy.
However, he added that this could only happen when there is sufficient management and auditing systems in place in all EU regions, something that is by common agreement not currently the case.
The consensus among MEPs and other experts questioned by EurActiv was that Hahn had given a confident, upbeat performance, emphasising the positives from the start. A good strategy, thought Hübner, who explained that "you have to like this job to succeed in it".