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23 March 2004

Hearing of New Commissioners from Accession Countries 13-15 April

On 1st May the Accession Treaty will enter into force. The European Commission will appoint ten nationals from the accession Countries which will first face public hearings before the European Parliament on 13, 14 and 15 April.

Each hearing will last around 80 minutes. The hearings will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels, in room PHS 3C50. Parliament's plenary will then have to vote, on 5 May in Strasbourg, on whether to approve the enlarged Commission, which will temporarily consist of 30 members.

The new European Parliament will be elected mid-June. The European Council of June 2004 will start the process of replacing the Commission by nominating a new President to replace Romano Prodi.

The ten new Commissioners from the Accession Countries are expected to remain as members of the next Commission, which will be approved by a vote in plenary of the European Parliament at the end of October after hearings of each Commissioner-designate by the EP committee for his/her policy field.

The new Commission will take office in November for a period of five years. It will be limited to 25 Commissioners. Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the UK will no longer have two Commissioners. Furthermore, the protocol on enlargement states that the number of 25 Commissioners will remain even after further enlargement to 27 members with Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU.

The exact number of Members of the Commission will be laid down by the Council acting unanimously. The individuals who are to be members of that future Commission will be chosen on an egalitarian rota basis under procedures to be decided by the Council. The rota system will apply from the date of entry into force of the first Commission following the accession of the 27th Member State.

The draft constitutional treaty for the EU proposes that the Commission should have no more than 15 members with voting rights and an undefined number of Commissioners without voting rights. This sensitive issue still has to be settled by the Intergovernmental Conference.

More information on the Hearing
Agenda of Hearing

© European Parliament

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