The Civil Liberties and Culture and Education committees quizzed Margaritis Schinas, Greek Vice President-designate for the Protecting our European way of life portfolio.
Political groups’ coordinators from both committees will meet later this evening to assess the performance of Vice President-designate Schinas.
European way of life
During his introductory speech, Mr Schinas explained that his priorities would be to make European society fair and more inclusive, deliver a new pact on asylum and migration and complete the Security Union. He defended the title assigned to him by President-elect von der Leyen, underlining that “populists should feel threatened by our values”.
MEPs of several groups criticised the title and requested that it be dropped, to avoid fuelling extremist views and the idea of “us versus them”. Members also questioned him on migration and asylum policy. Mr Schinas replied that “Europe will always be a land of asylum”, but those who do not have the right to stay will have to go back. He commended the work of NGOs and advocated for legal migration channels.
Education and culture
Mr Schinas committed to make the European Education Area a reality and to modernise the education system. He defended the creation a European Child guarantee, to ensure the necessary care to all children.
MEPs asked the Vice President-designate about measures to guarantee that young Europeans can acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for a changing society and the digital era, and demanded concrete actions in the field of education to contribute to inclusion and integration, especially for migrants.
You can watch the video recording of the full hearing here.
At the end of the hearing, Civil Liberties committee Chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) and Culture committee Chair Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) held a press point outside the meeting room: watch it here.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.
Members of the associated Employment and Social Affairs Committee also participated to the hearing.