Following the Parliament’s rejection of Rocco Buttiglione at the 2004-hearings, the new candidates of Bulgaria and Romania will be eager to perform well in the upcoming hearings.
Before the hearings, each candidate replies to a written questionnaire. The issues touched upon in the specific questionnaire are likely to come up during the hearings. Meglena Kuneva will be grilled by MEPs on issues, such as consumer education, competitiveness and consumer protection and her idea of the average consumer.
Leonard Orban is likely to face questions on multilingualism and the Lisbon strategy, minority languages, but also the role of multilingualism for the Commission’s Plan D on communication. Ahead of the hearings, socialist group leader Martin Schulz asked President Barroso to extend Orban’s portfolio to cover minorities.
The hearing procedures foresee an introduction by the chairperson and the Commissioner-designate, followed by a first round of questions by each group, with the right to one follow up question. Then there will be a second round with questions, followed by a free question and answer session.
Orban’s hearing session will include a special round of questions from the Constitutional Affairs committee. Finally, the candidate will be able to make a last statement and the hearing will then be closed by the chairperson.
The hearings are evaluated by the committees behind closed doors, and the outcome is transmitted to the Conference of Presidents, which will officially close the hearings. The Parliament will vote on the two candidates by simple majority on 12 December 2006. The Council will formally appoint the new Commissioners before the end of December 2006.