We Stand Together(10)

European Parliament update: From Commissioner rejections to Intergroups

In the last update, we reported mainly on the European Commissioner-designated hearings which took place at the end of September and beginning of October in front of parliamentary committees. A lot has happened since then, but let’s start from the beginning.

October starts unpleasantly for the European Commission. Their sister institution – the European Parliament – has rejected three of Ursula von der Leyen’s Commissioners. The Romanian and Hungarian candidates were already in a position under threat before the hearings even started due to conflict of interests. A bigger surprise was the rejection of French candidate Sylvie Goulard, who had been proposed for the Internal Market and Defense Industry portfolio. Even after responding to a written questionnaire and appearing in front of MEPs a second time, Macron’s pick failed to convince the European Parliament of her integrity, which she was mainly criticized about. She, along with the two other failed candidates, will now need to be replaced. The search is on.

Many praised the European Parliament for taking up their role as democratic watchdog and standing up to the European Council (the 28 governments of the EU), particularly after the immense debacle over the Spitzenkandidaten-process. Some call it a revenge act against Macron, but whatever it might be or not be, the Parliament showed great spirit. This now also means that the new Commission will take office at the earliest on 1st of December.

Of course the hearings were just one of many items which were on the agenda of the MEPs. Another one was the campaigning for European Parliament intergroups for the next 5 years. For those of you who don’t come from the Brussels bubble, this term is probably unfamiliar. Intergroups are formed around a specific topic with the idea of holding informal exchanges of views and creating contact between Members of Parliament and civil society.

COFACE Families Europe is one of those civil society organisations, together with AGE Platform Europe trying to collect enough support to form an Intergroup on Demographic Change and Solidarity between Generations. We believe such an Intergroup is important because everyone is impacted by demographic change and more than ever we need sustainable solutions that fit the needs and expectations of all current and future generations. Read our full letter to the MEPs explaining our reasons and objectives.

We further hope for other ‘intergroups that will make a difference for people’, which are on the following topics:

  • Extreme poverty and human rights
  • Youth issues
  • Children rights
  • Social economy
  • Disability
  • Demographic change and solidarity between generations
  • Anti-racism and diversity

We will keep you updated on the developments! Fingers crossed.


For more information, contact Isabell Wutz iwutz@coface-eu.org

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