21 SEP 2010
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - MEPs in the foreign affairs committee are to ask the EU's new ambassadors to China, Georgia, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan and the EU Special Representative (EUSR) to Sudan to come in for hearings to check if they are up to scratch.
The committee drew up the list at a meeting in Strasbourg on Monday (20 September) and aims to carry out the interviews in public sessions next month. More names can be added, especially if information comes to light casting doubt on the eligibility of other nominees.
German centre-right deputy Elmar Brok said the group of six was chosen due to the importance of the countries rather than any worries about individual candidates.
"We will check for knowledge of the dossier. A civil servant does not need to have a political vision," he told EUobserver.
MEPs do not have the legal power to block nominations. But if one of the interviewees performs badly it will create pressure for EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton to reconsider the posting.
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