EP to give Oettinger the green light

EP to give Oettinger the green light
  1. EP to give Oettinger the green light
    MEPs expected to back German's promotion despite his foul mouth and his cozy ties with pro-Kremlin…

European Parliament (EP) group leaders will decide with EP president Martin Schulz on Thursday (12 January) whether Guenther Oettinger, a controversial German politician, is fit to be promoted.

Formerly in charge of the European Commission’s digital market portfolio, he is now tipped to become a commission vice-president in charge of budgets and human resources, including ethics.

Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker put Oettinger up for the role despite his racist, sexist, and homophobic gaffes and despite a dispute surrounding his flight on the private jet of a pro-Kremlin lobbyist.

The Socialists and Greens wanted to punish Oettinger for his sins, but EP sources said it was unlikely that they would succeed.

Juncker and Oettinger belong to the European People’s Party (EPP) - the largest group in the EP.

Coordinators from three committees - budget, budgetary control, and legal affairs - held an “exchange of views” with Oettinger on Monday, but did not give him a hard time.

According to EP sources, the budget and budgetary control committees supported Oettinger, but MEPs on the legal affairs desk were still locked in debate.

There was some confusion about the text of the committees’ official recommendation, the sources added.

They said the legal affairs committee secretariat had rubber-stamped a text that did not reflect the Socialist and Green misgivings because officials were confused about the deadline.

The approved text “expects a strong commitment” from Oettinger on transparency and non-discrimination from, but says he is fit to do the job.

'Shot in the foot'

Even if the EP had raised the red flag, Juncker would not have been obliged to change his mind.

“All this bears little weight, one way or another this appointment will go through,” Benedek Javor, a Hungarian Green MEP said.

Javor was the man who originally unearthed Oettinger’s lobbyist jet trip.

He said that Juncker’s choice did not serve Europe well in times of mounting euroscepticism.

“This appointment reinforces the impression in European citizens, especially the ones who still believe in the European project, that the EU is all about lobbying and back-door…

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