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South East MEP Sharon Bowles completes competency hearings for new European Commissioners

January 14, 2010 3:15 PM

Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament's powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has completed a gruelling week of competency hearings for four proposed European Commissioners.

Sharon Bowles said: "The Hearings are quite intensive. So many of my Committee members are tired, having spent all week grilling candidates for top Commission jobs."

Commission candidates interviewed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee this week were: proposed Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn; proposed Competition Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia; proposed Taxation Commissioner, Algirdas Šemeta; and Michel Barnier, the controversial choice for the influential job of Internal Market Commissioner.

Sharon Bowles said: "All eyes were on Michel Barnier this week. There are some in the City of London who fear having a Frenchman in charge of the Internal Market portfolio."

"In the wake of the financial crisis, there have been some key legislative proposals designed to protect EU Member States, including the UK, from another credit crunch and near banking collapse. This legislation will change the economic terrain of Europe forever. It is my job to ensure that the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee makes this proposed legislation workable."

"This week's Commissioner Hearings in Brussels were all about making sure these new Commissioners are up to the task and work closely with MEPs from an early stage. This is particularly relevant in financial services and I presented some key commitments to the Commission candidates. Both Michel Barnier and Joaquim Almunia signed up to their 'pledges', I am pleased to say willingly, which is a great start."

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will today interview candidates for the Vice-Presidency of the European Central Bank.