The 1 October Wojciechowski hearing is poor. Even when the chair of the AGRI committee asks for the MEPs to applaud the Commissioner-designate it is lukewarm, at best.
Mr Wojciechowski’s performance is the poorest of all the Commissioners heard to date.
It did not matter he is a PiS affiliate. It did not matter he had OLAF problems. Mr Weber of EPP is asking about Sylvie Goulard: “Why can’t you continue to be a French minister but can become a European commissioner?”. Nobody has to play that tune against Mr Wojciechowski.
Here’s the recap of the hearing:
Even those who wished Mr Wojciechowski well acknowledge that his showing is poor. Herbert Dorfmann, EPP coordinator at AGRI: “performance of the Commissioner-designate Wojciechowski was very weak. He did not answer concretely to a lot of questions. Some answers were […] really strange. […] Very strange ideas about animal welfare, on the green deal, on the CAP reform, which is on the table”. Full video is twitted by EPP:
Jarosław Kalinowski, an MEP with EPP and a fellow Pole wished Mr Wojciechowski well. His hearing reaction: “I am disappointed, I’d prefer for it to look better. I really hoped it would be better”.
So there is no cordon sanitaire against Mr Wojciechowski. It was just a poor performance.
Rzeczpospolita: Wojciechowski to be changed
The day after Rzeczpospolita, a conservative daily, has some breaking news: the Wojciechowski hearing was so poor that the written questions asked of the Commissioner-designate, is just a pro-forma. In fact by Monday it shall be official: the Parliament would like the Polish candidate to be replaced.
Every major news outlet reprints the news.
Asked, the government of Law and Justice (PiS) confirmed they do not foresee a replacement. A number of PiS politicians, including the government spokesperson Piotr Müller and deputy foreign minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk confirmed there will be no replacement.
Until Monday, that is. On Monday the AGRI committee and involved ENVI (environment and public health) MEPs will decide to give or not a second chance to Mr Wojciechowski.
The parliamentary elections in Poland are taking place 13 October. PiS rural campaign thus far was based on the promise of equalising payments to Polish farms with the Western European payments and Mr Wojciechowski was to guarantee that to happen. Should he be removed from the Commission college that argument might be shaky.