The Slovenia Times

Political Kindergarten: Slovenian EPP MEPs to Vote against Juncker


The European Parliament is expected to take a vote on the Commission line-up proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker on 22 October. The plenary will not vote on individual commissioner nominees, but relevant parliamentary committees will assess each one of them based on hearings.

It has happened before for MEPs to achieve certain changes as to members or portfolios for the incoming commission even before the commission line-up was put to vote as a whole at the plenary session of the European Parliament.

The five Slovenian MEPs who took part in a meeting with the media and non-governmental organisations in Ljubljana on Friday agreed the priority now was to wait for the hearings, also because changes in the composition of the Commission are still possible thereafter.

Nevertheless, Slovenian MEPs from the EPP seem to have already reached a decision not to back the Juncker line-up if it includes Slovenia's former prime minister. This was confirmed by Romana Tomc and Patricija Šulin from the Democratic Party (SDS) and the People's Party (SLS) leader Franc Bogovič.

The other two Slovenian conservative MEPs, Lojze Peterle from New Slovenia (NSi) and Milan Zver from the SDS, did not attend the meeting in Ljubljana, and neither did Ivo Vajgl (Alde/DeSUS).

"Our position on the Slovenian candidate is perfectly clear... We will expectedly vote against this package," Tomc said, noting that she spoke on behalf of the trio of MEPs from the ranks of the SDS, and she believed also on behalf of the other two EPP MEPs from Slovenia.

The sentiment was echoed by Šulin as well as Bogovič, who said: "The decision that we cannot accept such a commission is taken."

The other two of Slovenian eight MEPs were more reserved in their comments today. Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) underscored expertise and adherence to EU standards and values as key requirements for commissioner nominees, aside from the issue of corruption. All these would be judged in the hearings.

Asked about Bratušek, Fajon said she did not want Slovenian MEPs to try to "undermine her bid" or "work against Slovenia" in the hearing, so she would like "any potential doubts concerning the nomination to be dispelled before the hearings".

She referred to the fact that the appointment procedure in Slovenia was under scrutiny from the anti-graft watchdog because Bratušek effectively proposed herself as one of three candidates put forward by her government already after a general election in which her party barely made it to parliament.

Fajon hopes for the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to make its opinion on the case known before Bratušek's hearing, planned for 6 October. If it does not, she believes MEPs would judge the candidate "solely on the basis of the hearing". Personally, she will "vote according to my conscience".

Igor Šoltes (Greens/Believe) would not say how he will vote, announcing that he would decide based on the hearings. He noted though that the Greens had quite a few misgivings about the commissioner team, but that Bratušek was not their main concern.

The EPP and S&D as the biggest political groups in the European Parliament however said last week that they would wait for hearings before making any decision on Bratušek, giving her the benefit of the doubt.


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