The European People’s Party (EPP) is not happy. The Socialists have managed to get a nominee Commissioner out and they have not. Not fair, they say. We want a scalp as well. (Nobody seems to be claiming the Latvian Ingrida Udre’s substitution by Andris Piebalgs as a particular victory. I wonder why not.)
The one the EPP wants out is the Hungarian László Kovács, a former Communist, now Socialist, who was first given the energy portfolio. He seems to have been so incompetent and ignorant in his replies during his interrogation by the relevant Euopean Parliament committee that even the MEPs noticed.
In the new or, rather, renewed old Commission Mr Kovács has been given the tax portfolio and Mr Piebalgs energy. They and Mr Frattini, the new Italian nominee, will be questioned again by the MEPs next week. It seems that Mr Kovács has already told some of them privately that his knowledge of tax is no greater than that of energy. One wonders about his general intelligence if these are the sort of things he admits to readily. Or could this be part of a general Hungarian plot to destabilize the European Union as they have destabilized various empires in the past?
In the meantime the Socialists have accused some of EPP of dirty tricks. Apparently the latter have been circulating compromising pictures of Mr Kovács on the internet. No, not that sort of compromising pictures, just ones that prove he was in the Communist militia. It is not quite clear what is meant by Communist militia in this case or how the Socialists know that the pictures are fake, but it all adds to the gaiety of nations.
According to The Times this morning, the European Parliament, intoxicated by its political success in postponing the actual enthronement of the Commission is demanding further concessions. They want to have the power to get rid of individual Commissioners they do not like (presumably those who do not admit to their own secular, statist morality) rather than having to fire the whole Commission, a nuclear option they have never taken up and never will. In other words, they want to have more leverage in those complicated and not entirely transparent deals that are struck behind closed doors in Brussels and Strasbourg. Surely, even they do not pretend that this has anything to do with democracy or accountability.