Nominees for positions in the next commission will face questions from the European Parliament from 11 to 19 January.
EU law requires the hearings so that the people's representatives – Members of the European Parliament – can have a say in who sits on the commission.
The 26 commission candidates (including the EU high representative for foreign affairs) have already submitted their CVs and written replies to a questionnaire. During the three-hour public hearings, they will take questions from parliamentary committees dealing with the policy areas in their future portfolios.
MEPs will evaluate candidates’ knowledge and competence, commitment to the EU, personal independence and political priorities. Parliament will also give its opinion on the proposed distribution of portfolios and political programme.
Already approved by Parliament, José Manuel Barroso will stay on for a second term as President of the Commission.
At a plenary session on 26 January, MEPs will decide by majority vote whether or not to approve the new commission as a whole. Once approval is given, EU heads of government will formally appoint the commission. Commissioners hold office for a five-year term, during which they remain accountable to parliament – parliament can call for the mass resignation of all commissioners.