Anneliese Dodds MEP

The South East's Voice in Europe

New European Commissioners

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Last night Anneliese voted in favour of approving four new European Commissioners, including the UK's Lord Hill.

The Commissioners -- Pierre Moscovici from France, Jyrki Katainen from Finland and Valdis Dombrovskis from Latvia, as well as Lord Hill -- will have critical roles to play on European economic and monetary matters over the next five years.

The last two weeks have seen 27 different potential Commissioners grilled for three hours at a time by Members of the European Parliament to ensure that they are fit to carry out their roles. Anneliese, who sits on the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee, has been heavily involved in this process, making sure that the would-be Commissioners have given strong commitments on issues that matter to her constituents in the South East.

Last week, she asked Mr Moscovici to crack down on tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance and tax havens during his time as Commissioner -- and he made a commitment to tackle this "morally unacceptable" practice. And she asked another Commissioner-Designate, Margrethe Vestager from Denmark, to ensure that competition laws would make it easier for small businesses to compete across Europe, and harder for large supermarket chains to abuse their dominant positions to take advantage of poorly paid farmers and workers. Mrs Vestager promised to take action on both issues.

The hearings were fairly controversial, especially that of Lord Hill. He was summoned back for an unprecedented second hearing so that MEPs could be satisfied with his answers on a range of detailed issues -- including making sure that small businesses could effectively access finance, and that more would be done to ensure that banks were made safer and contributed more to economic recovery. Anneliese was involved in both hearings and late last night, after lengthy discussions, voted to approve Lord Hill along with the other Commissioners.

Although Lord Hill was eventually confirmed, Anneliese believes the process could have been much easier were it not for the attitudes of the Conservatives back in the UK.

"David Cameron has comprehensively alienated all his potential European allies," said Anneliese. "While it was right that Lord Hill was required to attend an additional hearing to answer further questions about his portfolio, his progress was made much harder by the UK government's confused approach to Europe.

"Lord Hill made clear efforts to establish himself as a pragmatic, pro-European candidate to be the new Commissioner for financial services. But because this was so at odds with the increasingly hostile, anti-European stance taken by his party back home, it's no surprise that some MEPs were sceptical about his sincerity.

"We needed to hear from Lord Hill a second time to ensure he had covered all the detail of his critically important portfolio, but he still faced a much harder time than necessary because of the way the Conservatives have alienated potential allies here in Brussels. The UK very nearly lost its first choice Commissioner as a result.

"Now that he's been confirmed, let's hope Lord Hill stays true to his own words, and not those of his increasingly out-of-touch party back in Westminster."

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