23/09/2014 07:37 BST | Updated 21/11/2014 05:59 GMT

European Commission: Scrutinising the People Who Will Be Running Europe for the Next Five Years


You are unlikely to hand over your car to a novice driver or agree to surgery with a doctor who has never held a scalpel. When you hold something dear, you want to make sure that the people looking after it know what they are doing.

Formal qualifications can give a degree of confidence, but there are no degrees in how to run a country or a continent, which makes the EP's scrutiny of the incoming European Commission so important.

For the next five years Jean-Claude Juncker will head the Commission, which is responsible for proposing new European legislation and checking up on its implementation. After consulting national governments, he has proposed candidates for the commissioners' posts and assigned portfolios. His team must be approved by the European Parliament before it can take office, but first its members will be subjected to a thorough evaluation.

From 29 September to 7 October the candidate commissioners will be scrutinised by the parliamentary committees that deal with their proposed portfolios. After responding to at least five written questions, they will face MEPs in hearings that can be followed live via the EP website.

The aim is to assess each candidate's suitability as commissioner, evaluate their knowledge of the proposed portfolio and find out about their future plans. Based on the candidates' responses and performance, the committees will then draw up a recommendation and send it to the president of the European Parliament.

Although MEPs can only vote on the Commission as a whole and not on individual candidates, in the past Commission presidents have preferred to withdraw candidates or reassign portfolios rather than risk the rejection of the whole team.

The Parliament is scheduled to vote on the new Commission on 22 0ctober, allowing it - if approved - to start work on 1 November.

Copyright infographic European Parliament