Rotten tomatoes or standing ovations? Commissioners’ hearings reviewed

It’s the theatrical run everyone had been waiting for. Well, everyone in the Brussels bubble. Maybe.

Over the past couple of weeks, aspiring European commissioners have been putting on a series of one-woman and one-man shows at the European Parliament. Their aim: to convince MEPs that they deserve a five-year run on the Brussels stage.

So who won over the audience and the critics in their confirmation hearings? Who was more “meh” than megastar? And who had the punters reaching for the rotten fruit?

POLITICO watched every performance (so normal people didn’t have to) and the reviews are in.

Top performers

Frans Timmermans (Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal, Netherlands) 

High point: Timmermans’ rendition of a snippet of poetry from Edwin James Milliken to liken the Earth’s climate trajectory to that of a man who falls asleep while driving a train — a rather dramatic end to the hearing. “For the pace is hot, and the points are near, and sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear; and signals flash through the night in vain. Death is in charge of the clattering train!”

Timmermans charmed MEPs with his linguistic skills, made some firm policy pledges and kept the drama to a minimum Aris Oikonomou/AFP via Getty Images

Low point: The largely polished Timmermans flubbed in a couple policy areas that did not go unnoticed by MEPs — he erroneously suggested the EU’s Emissions Trading System did not cover aviation and was accused of dodging questions on agriculture.

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