Gianni Pittella: "This Commission must open a new phase but some candidates must be scrutinised very carefully"
Following Jean-Claude Juncker's announcement of his proposed new commissioners, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament welcomed the balance of the team but warned that the new commissioners must be up to the job – the S&D Group will scrutinise the new Commission carefully.
Gianni Pittella, the president of the S&D Group, declared:
"This is a balanced new Commission that will hopefully open up a new phase for the Commission, with an innovative structure and new development plans to overcome the crisis. However, the S&D Group is worried about the financial services and education and culture portfolios.
"We welcome the introduction of six new vice-presidents with horizontal portfolios, as we are certain it will help put the commitments Mr Juncker made to the Parliament into practice, especially on the promised €300 billion investment plan. We particularly welcome the appointment of our fellow social-democrat, Frans Timmermans, as first vice-president.
"As for gender balance, Mr Juncker just about got there. We would have preferred to have more women in the new Commission team.
"The number of portfolios given to social-democrat commissioners does not reflect the political weight of the groups within Parliament. However social-democrats have been given responsibility for some very strategic and challenging issues.
"We have the guarantee that this Commission will be guided by a strong social-democrat influence thanks to the appointment of important commissioners such as Corina Creţu, Maroš Šefčovič, Neven Mimica, Karmenu Vella and Vytenis Andriukaitis.
"Europe has to show its political strength and rise to meet the challenges of the current crises.
"We are confident that with the appointment of Federica Mogherini, Europe will for the first time have a real foreign policy.
"The appointment of Pierre Moscovici is a clear indication that Europe has turned the page of austerity. It is now time for the Commission to be much more flexible on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.
"We look forward to listening carefully – very carefully – to the hearings with every single commissioner. The S&D Group will make a decision whether to back Juncker's team based on their agendas and their willingness to promote the fundamental values of the European Union. Tibor Navracsics has been warned.
"Financial services is too important and sensitive a job to be given to a conservative with a liberal, free-market approach. The financial sector urgently needs better regulation and we will not accept any backward step on this issue. It's a matter of principle. We promise to be very tough with Lord Hill."