EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

The following article about European Commissioner confirmation hearings was published by EurActiv on 14th January 2010.

Put in a difficult position by Rumiana Jeleva’s weak performance at her parliamentary hearing earlier this week, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is threatening to counter-attack by asking for a socialist head to roll.

The EPP group said on Wednesday (13 January) that it would seek an explanation for a statement made by Slovakia’s Commissioner-designate Maroš Šefcovic against his country’s Roma minority back in 2005.

“We are very worried about the statement of Mr. Maroš Šefcovic, which he made on 19 January 2005, when the Commission organised a conference on human rights and EU migration policies,” said József Szájer, a Hungarian MEP responsible for overseeing the commissioners’ parliamentary hearings at the EPP.

During that meeting, Šefcovic expressed the view that his Roma compatriots were exploiters of the Slovak welfare system, Szájer told journalists in Brussels.

“I don’t think that the future vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for such sensitive issues as recruitment, as equal opportunities, as gender, can have such discriminatory views on this,” the EPP representative stated, adding it was unacceptable to label any ethnic group on the basis of collective guilt.

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