Below find the highlights from the week as well as stories that will be developing in the near future.
Polish, Slovak and Czech commissioners win approval, Hungary on hold: Designated Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, responsible for the European values and transparency portfolios, has been approved by the corresponding EP parliamentary committees after a three-hour hearing on Monday. Earlier on, Slovak Commissioner-designate Maroš Šefčovič was reaffirmed and will take the role of Vice-President with the inter-institutional relations and foresight portfolios. The approval of Polish candidate Janusz Wojciechowski for the portfolio of agriculture took more effort, after MEPs had failed to back him after his first committee hearing. The second time round, Wojciechowski gave a more confident performance, this time in his native language. Meanwhile, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is yet to formally accept the new nomination of Olivér Várhelyi, after László Trócsányi was given the thumbs-down by the EP’s legal committee.
Polish bet on solar power: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced today that Poland plans to triple it solar power capacity this year. This announcement comes after the Polish government has promised to maintain strong support for the Silesian coal industry, even though it faces growing criticism over issues with air quality. Once the additional photovoltaic capacity is installed, Poland should generate 3 per cent of its total electricity capacity from solar power.
Hungary trails in competitiveness: In the latest Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, Hungary is trailing behind its V4 neighbours with regard to global competitiveness. Among others, this is measured according to innovation capacity, the quality of infrastructure and business performance. The country currently ranks 47nd out of 141, while Slovak (42), Poland (37) and Czechia (32) received higher assessments. A full overview can be found here.