Between 11 and 19 January, the European Parliament will hold a series of public hearings with the 26 candidate Commissioners put forward by the European Council, and European Commission President Josť Manuel Barroso.
The 'Commissioners-designate' will face three hours of questioning by MEPs sitting on the committees relevant to their proposed portfolios. They will be evaluated on their specific knowledge and competence in their field, including their European commitment, their independence and their communication skills.
MEPs from the relevant committees will then deliberate before sending their conclusions in writing to the Conference of Presidents (the President of the EP and political group leaders), which will meet with the Conference of committee chairs to discuss the results. It is at this point that any possible requests for changes in portfolios or in the composition of the proposed Commission would emerge. In 2004, pressure from Parliament before its final vote led to two changes in the line-up of Commissioners and one change of portfolio.
Parliament is scheduled to hold its final vote on Barroso's new team on 26 January at a special plenary session in Brussels. It can only approve or reject the new Commission as a whole. Mr Barroso's nomination for a second term as Commission President was approved by Parliament on 16 September 2009.
7 January 2010