Kovács given second bite at the cherry

Hungary’s Commissioner designate is to
appear before MEPs for the second time, with a view to his
taking over the taxation and customs union
portfolio. If successful, Kovács will
effectively pass the energy brief to
Latvia’s candidate.

On 16 November, Hungary’s former Foreign Minister
László Kovács is to appear before
MEPs for the second time as candidate for the post
of commissioner. This time it is his competence for
the taxation and customs union portfolio that will
be tested while Latvia’s new candidate, Andris
Piebalgs, will be quizzed on energy, a portfolio
initially assigned to Kovács.

At the hearing, Kovács is likely to be asked
about VAT fraud, his views on the fight against
counterfeiting and piracy, as well as the revision of the
Community customs code.

In his preparatory questionnaire Kovács had
to give his views about the
possibility of introducing the method of
‘enhanced co-operation’ in some areas of
taxation. Kovács said it could be considered
“the way forward” in the area of company
taxation as a last resort if no solution is found
“within a reasonable timeframe using the normal
legislative procedure”. The Hungarian commissioner
designate also said that “the creation of a
common consolidated corporate tax base for companies
operating in the EU should be the first priority of this
Commission in the tax field”. 

Deemed incompetent, he failed to get into the
good books of groups of MEPs during his first
hearing in the area of energy. Kovács will now be
under considerable pressure to make a good
impression before the EP’s Economic and
Monetary Affairs Committee as well as its Industry,
Research and Energy Committee. 

Following the decision of Commission’s President
elect José Manuel Barroso to withdraw his team of
commissioners on 27 October (see also 
EURACTIV 27 October

), two commissioners designate withdrew their
candidatures and a couple changed portfolios. As a
result, three nominee commissioners have hearings on 15
and 16 November, with the plenary vote deciding on the
future of Barroso’s reshuffled team scheduled for 18

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