I thought the hearing with Baroness Ashton in the INTA Committee in the European Parliament would make some sparks fly. I was wrong. Ashton took the sensible, yet rather dull, approach of being pleasant and kind to the EP, and going out of the way to say that she would listen to the Committee, and listen to MEPs that she acknowledged had more experience in the field than she has.
The only tough question came from Nigel Farage of UKIP, his impact limited because so many MEPs do not take UKIP seriously (and, perhaps, that he was wearing a quite terrible suit). He said that the Trade Commissioner needed to be a ‘heavy hitter’ and wondered whether Ashton could be that. She said she had good people to advise her.
As I write the political groups are debating whether to give their OK to the nomination of Ashton, but as she sounded so conciliatoryÂ throughoutÂ and no MEP managed to land a major blow against her. We’ll know what the reaction will be by 2115 CET.
So that’s the worst of all possible outcomes then! They don’t do the job correctly in the hearing, and sound rather smarmy, then battle to extract concessions, and in the end cave in. Great.
I disagree with you; it did not go as smoothly as you describe it. The Tories did make it very hard at the evaluation meeting, eventually after more than 2 hours of negotiations they accepted that the INTA committee gives a positive recommendation. This opposition was merely a British issue and a first of pre-election battle.