The following update on the election of a new EU executive and it’s impact is provided by the European Public Health Alliance.
With the announcement of ’Barrosso II’, all that remains between a new political leadership in Brussels is the Parliamentary hearings. The designated Commissioners are busy preparing for the scrutiny before the European Parliament, a gruelling three hour process where questions are mooted on potentially any topic within their portfolio. This is not the simple ’rubber stamp’ procedure that it may appear : Commissioners are expected to understand the details of the political and technical dossiers and prepare for the most challenging and divisive questions. The new Health and Consumer Commissioner, John Dalli, is in for a particular challenge. Always a broad portfolio, the inclusion of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, cosmetics and genetically modified organisms gives not only far more technical and complex dossiers but also those with heavy economic interests and strong positions. All will be watching the hearings, in order to get a sense of the leadership for the next five years.
Meanwhile, Brussels waits. The political dossiers are on hold : big consultations on issues of key interest and impact are waiting for the political leadership to take the helm. The EU2020 consultation, on the future business plan of Europe, is however underway, with a deadline of 15 January. This short consultation, for what is the second most important document in terms of decision-making after the Treaty, coinciding with the Christmas holidays is causing many in Brussels to call in protest at the challenges this brings for a full and transparent debate of the issues.