Hudghton MEP (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, Mr Barroso referred to our Committee hearing process as an example of democracy in action, but that process, without the accompanying power to approve or reject individuals, makes our hearings more of a charade. After the hearings, I heard spokespeople for certain political groups express deep disappointment at the performance of certain individuals but go on to say that because he or she was a member of their political family, they would support them anyway. Mr Barroso acknowledged certain specific weaknesses – conflicts of interest – and claimed to have attempted to deal with that. I think conflicts of interest are as much about perception as actuality. Surely, it is not too much to expect each individual to have done enough homework to be able to demonstrate that they have mastered their brief. Citizens' expectations and our sense of responsibility were referred to. My sense of responsibility demands that I vote against the Commission tomorrow. (Applause)

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