S&D Group asks for more clarification from commissioner-designate Jourová

In yesterday's hearing, Věra Jourová, commissioner-designate from the Czech Republic for justice, consumers and gender equality, gave a wide overview of the portfolio she would be responsible for but did not fully convince members of the four committees who questioned her jointly during the hearing.

The four committees concerned are the legal affairs committee, the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, the internal market committee and the women's rights and gender equality committee. In line with the European Parliament's rules of procedure, the four committee co-ordinators liaised with the Parliament's president, Martin Schulz, who will now send a letter to the commissioner-designate with further written questions from members of the committees involved.

Evelyn Regner, S&D co-ordinator for the legal affairs committee, added:

"The commissioner-designate had familiarised herself with most of the ongoing proposals in the area of legal affairs. However she lacked political sensitivity and vision, in particular with regard to company law. When specifically asked about minimum standards for stakeholder involvement she failed to answer. The S&D Group understands that a company run in the interests of stakeholders such as consumers, local communities and employees will take decisions more attuned to long-term sustainability and economic success than one run exclusively in the interests of shareholders. A commissioner-designate who does not at least show some sensitivity to workers' participation and social dumping cannot be approved by our Group. We now hope she can prove otherwise."

Birgit Sippel, S&D co-ordinator for the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

"Ms Jourová was neither specific nor convincing in her replies. She lacked relevant detail and knowledge on key issues like the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), data protection and the 'Safe Harbour' arrangement with the US.

She lacked concrete plans for action in several fields relevant for the S&D Group, such as the respect for fundamental rights. In addition, we need further clarification on her position on free movement which was particularly vague.”

Commenting on the outcome of the hearing, S&D co-ordinator for the internal market committee Evelyne Gebhardt, said:

"Ms Jourová's presentation was not convincing and I regret that she did not give clear and concrete answers on many topics. I left with the impression that she does not give as much priority to consumer rights as we would need. This relates especially to some of our core priorities, including the harmonisation of consumer rights and mechanisms for collective redress, as well as product safety and market surveillance."

Marie Arena, S&D co-ordinator for the women's rights committee concluded:

"Given the range of her portfolio, Commissioner-designate Jourová appeared relatively vague when laying down her objectives for gender equality. In the light of the numerous challenges at stake, especially with regard to maternity leave, women on boards, increasing poverty and violence against women, it is more than ever important to have a clear strategy. This is why we have asked for additional clarification from her."