EU Parliament Chief Rows back on UK Candidate

EU Parliament Chief Rows back on UK Candidate

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – The head of the European Parliament rowed back on Wednesday after saying the EU legislature might reject Britain’s nominee for the European Commission, Jonathan Hill, for “radically anti-European” views.

Martin Schulz told a news conference he had been answering a hypothetical question from a German radio interviewer who said that Hill, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s nominee for the EU executive, was an extreme Eurosceptic.

Schulz said he had no personal knowledge of the Conservative lawmaker’s views.

“Today friends told me that Mr Hill is a rather pro-European person by UK standards. I’m very pleased with that,” the German Social Democrat said. The British nominee should be given a fair chance to prove to at a parliamentary hearing his competence for the portfolio he would be allocated, he added.

Schulz’s early morning comments to Deutschlandfunk radio caused outrage and incomprehension among British politicians.

“I cannot imagine Hill, whose views – in as far as he’s got any – are radically anti-European, getting a majority in the European Parliament,” the parliament president had said.

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