Friday, December 11, 2009

New farm boss faces confirmation battle

The European Parliament always likes to assert itself by refusing to confirm one or two nominated commissioners in its confirmation hearings and the designate new farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos could be in their sights as the youngest and least experienced of the nominations. Although nominally an independent, he has been embraced by the centre right European People's Party, but they could easily drop him if the heat is turned up.

He got the nomination despite a late push by 'old' member states to nominate Ireland's Marie Geoghegan Quinn who was acceptable to France. However, they had left it too late to get the nomination for their candidate. Finland's Olli Rehn and Slovenia's Janez Potocnik were also in the frame at one time, while the favourite for a while was Latvia's Andris Pieblags who had shadowed Franz Fischler in 2004. To many it was a surprise that Ciolos got the nomination.

There have been complaints that Ciolos is 'too French' in the sense that his postgraduate education was undertaken in France and that his family and France's Michel Barnier's family are personal friends. He also has a French wife whom he met when both of them were trainees in DG AGRI. Ciolos was in fact appointed a director in DG AGRI earlier in the year, but was not able to take up the post.

His defenders argue that he is committed to a 'modern concept' of European agricultural and rural development policy in line with Commission thinking.

The appointment of John Dalli as the new Health Commissioner is also significant for farm policy. His appointment was perhaps even more surprising than that of Ciolos. Although the 61-year old is a big name in Malta where he was the longest serving Minister of Finance, he is less well known at a EU level.

DG SANCO will now take over responsibility for GMO cultivation and pesticides which currently resides with unit D.4 in DG ENVI. It is thought that this is because Commission president Barroso is looking for a more scientific, depoliticised approach to the GM debate.

Dalli has no prior experience of the food safety and animal health issues for which he will now take responsibility.


french derek said...

Thank you for this.

I am more interested in the appointment of John Dalli. To my mind the role of the EU Commissioner for Health should be more aligned towards Public Health.

And, by my reasoning, agricultural policy can and does reflect upon public health policy (eg pesticide and phosphate pollution of groundwater).

What hope with either or both of these proposed appointments (which will, in truth, be confirmed).

Wyn Grant said...

You are right that after a lot of huff and puff it is very likely that both appointments will be confirmed. Neither appointment makes me optimistic, but I could be wrong.

masini said...

Dacian Ciolos's novel as I do. His main fault is that coming from an EU country second hand. And maybe a bigger fault is that is promoted by corrupt people. So are all politicians in November. Do not think only good people but their own. I hope you do good works there but I doubt it.
dezmembrari auto