EU Commissioner-Designate Grilling Derives No Meaningful Answers

Members of the European Parliament got their chance to give Croatian Commissioner-designate Neven Mimica a going-over on EU consumer policy and his plans for the next 16 months. At a hearing on Tuesday they focused on barriers to e-commerce, product safety and market surveillance, medical devices and consumer policy in times of crisis.

If you ever wanted to witness first hand a politican’s ability to use words without saying anything, this is that moment. The Q+A session can be found here although I’ve read it three times and am yet to derive any new information from it.

In essence, Mr Mimica leans heavily on the old “I’m for the consumer” line, reminding MEPs that “Consumer policy is the people’s policy and you represent the people”.

On a couple of specific points, again its difficult to define much from the rhetoric. On the right of redress following claims against defective products the best he could offer was that this would be available on condition it was in line with in-country legal considerations. His main point seemed to be that clear and easy language would help people in seeking that redress. Er, ok.

On E-commerce, Mr Mimica said the EU as an entity without barriers must be maintained in the face of potential discrimination based on country of residence. Whatever that means in practice.

And the PMA question?

Oh and the big one. A question posed by Dagmar Roth-Behrendt asked about high risk medical device market access, hinting at the current legislative process to change this, the answer was crystal clear…ish.

“Where co-legislators come up with good amendments and viable proposals to strengthen the system for market access and the safety of high-risk medical devices, I will be ready to discuss them regardless of the nature of the present proposal”, said Mr Mimica, adding nonetheless that “I wouldn’t go too much into elaborating on shifting to a centralised pre-market authorisation”.

Time well spent by all then.