Readers of this blog may have noticed that there has been a certain amount of entertainment as the Members of the European Parliament threw around their insignificant weight and held up various Commissioners' confirmation for all sorts of reasons.

They were not altogether happy with the nomination of Karmenu Vella as Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Environment and Fisheries but it was not the fisheries part of the portfolio that bothered them.

Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee have said they are still not satisfied with the positioning of environmental issues in the new structure of the European Commission. But they will not hold hostage the nomination of Karmenu Vella in order to get it changed.

What a relief, eh?

The European Voice ran a live blog about the confirmation as it happened.

There were a few mildly interesting moments, the moment when Commissioner-to-be Vella held up photographs of his grandchildren not being one of them, except for the fact, not mentioned by him, that

the mother of one of those children sits on this environment committee. Miriam Dalli, a new Maltese MEP, is Vella’s daughter-in-law. She recused herself from participating in today’s hearing.

Much has been made of Commission President Juncker's restructuring of the Commission though we cannot tell how that will work until it starts working (or not). In any case, the main point about the Common Fisheries Policy being a centralized EU policy and decisions will be taken, for political reasons, in Brussels, remains.

David Keating did ask something interesting:

During his press conference I asked him if there is a risk that under the strategy identified by Juncker and himself to make sustainability and environment “everybody’s responsibility”, it actually becomes nobody’s responsibility – particularly if there is no vice-president for environment/sustainability.

He responded that this approach is better than having environment in its own silo, with policies being made without co-ordination with areas like industry and economy. Juncker’s new approach to the structure of the European Commission will mean a better result for the environment, he insisted.

We shall be watching Mr Vella's activity.


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