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Was Navracsics’s tough Brussels hearing a sham?

October 9th, 2014

Commentators take it for granted that PM Orbán’s candidate will get his seat in the European Commission. A right-wing analyst believes that Navracsics’s questioning in the Cultural Committee of the European Parliament was meant to gloss over a deal that had been struck well in advance.

In Magyar Hírlap, Lehel Kristály remarks that several candidates, including the British, the Czech, the French and the Slovenian nominee had problems in answering factual questions and thus showed a limited knowledge of their future portfolios. Navracsics, on the other hand, was questioned on home political issues and there were no doubts about his competence (see BudaPost, October 7).  His left-wing opponents had problems with the right-wing Hungarian government, recently re-elected with a two thirds majority in Parliament, Kristály suggests. They had to acknowledge that he was fit for the job, but not for the whole portfolio, which Kristály thinks will mean that one minor issue, for instance citizenship, will be covered by anther commissioner.
In Népszava, Péter Somfai likens Navracsics the to Biblical Judah, because the future Hungarian commissioner told the commission that he disapproved of the government’s policy on the press and on retroactive legislation. In a sarcastic remark Somfai predicts that Navracsics will not be a stumbling bloc in the future European Commission, since he did not raise objections within the Hungarian government while he was a Cabinet Minister, although as he says, he did not agree on multiple points.
In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Kottász is convinced that the floor leaders of the European Peoples Party and of the Socialists agreed well before the hearings to support each other’s candidates. That deal, however, had to remain a secret; therefore they allowed their MEPs to grill some “well selected” candidates during the hearings. Tough questioning was merely meant to cover up the secret deal and to save the semblance of democracy within the European parliament, Kottász concludes.

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