The European Commission must
focus on employment and social policy due to the impact of the economic
crisis, Hungary’s candidate to the European Commission Laszlo Andor
said at his parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.
Andor, who is expected to be given the social affairs and employment portfolio in the Commission, said the crisis is not over yet, so tasks related to crisis-management should be put on the agenda as soon as possible. Among planned tasks, he mentioned further development of the Social Fund, labour law issues and social policies, including pension reform in member states, in which the European Union must partake.
Andor said that an EU committee would give him a hearing on January 13 and, asked when he thought the new commission was likely to be formed, he said that the European Parliament was scheduled to hold a vote on the composition of the commission on January 26. It was likely, he said, that the commission would be able to start its work on February 1.
Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai announced last November his nomination of the former EBRD board member as the Hungarian member of the European Commission.
An economist by profession, Andor, 43, has been a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development board, representing Hungary, since 2005. He was a member of the economic policy advisory board to former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany from 2004.
Hungary’s political parties were divided over Andor’s nomination. While the ruling Socialist Party declared support for the candidate, the main opposition Fidesz party accused the government of "ignoring and betraying Hungary’s democratic transition by delegating a communist banker to the European Commission".
EBRD President Thomas Mirow praised Andor for his outstanding contribution to the London-based bank’s development.