Statement by Catherine Ashton, Member designate of the EC in charge of Trade
End production: 20/10/2008 First transmission: 20/10/2008
After the resignation of Peter Mandelson, replacement Catherine Ashton hoped for a smooth takeover of the role of Member of the EC in charge of Trade. With trade policy exclusively in EU hands, the Commissioner is a major player on the world scene. So Catherine Ashton faced close questioning on 20 October 2008 before the Trade Committee of the EP on her suitability for the job. Members from the Development and Foreign Affairs Committees also asked questions. After the hearing, Members of the EP decided on whether to recommend the full Parliament approves her appointment in a vote on 22 October.
Catherine Ashton had been until then a Labour Member in the British House of Lords, the Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in Gordon Brown's first cabinet in June 2007. She is an economist and previously held positions as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. She brings with her significant European experience, including steering the Lisbon Treaty through the British upper chamber and dealing with EU justice and home affairs issues in her previous positions.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
|| Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
|| Catherine Ashton, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, (in ENGLISH) saying that it was for her a very important moment, because it gave her the chance to meet with parliamentary colleagues who, if she is fortunate to be confirmed, will be very central to her work; she thought the set of questions was fascinating; she thinks they covered most of the topics that, she is sure, will come back again and again to form part of their discussions;
saying that after the vote on 22 October, if she is fortunate enough to have a positive vote, she will be going immediately to Geneva to meet with Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to discuss with him what's happening on Doha and to talk with those colleagues from different countries who are involved in the negotiations;
saying that as a parliamentarian herself, she thinks it is very important to build on the experience and the expertise that she sees before her in the Committee and across the Parliament, and to keep that dialogue going, so that the work she does is informed by the Parliament but also supported by the Parliament; no doubt that the economic and financial backdrop that they face means that they have to think even more about the opportunities that open trade can provide for us;