European Parliament votes to approve McGuinness as commissioner

The European Parliament has voted to approve Mairead McGuinness as the EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union.

In a secret ballot, 583 MEPs voted in favour, 75 against and 37 abstained.

She was nominated for the role following the resignation of Phil Hogan and is expected to be formally appointed in the coming days, once the council approves the appointment.

McGuinness has been a Fine Gael MEP for Midlands-North-West since 2004 and also served as first vice president of the parliament.

“I want to thank MEPs for their strong support,” said McGuinness, speaking from Brussels after the vote.

“Today was an important step in the nomination process, with the council due to consider my nomination in the coming days.

I expect to hit the ground running early next week.

“I will be focusing on a wide range of issues and ensuring financial stability in these difficult times, with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has tasked me with advancing the Banking Union, the Capital Markets Union and Sustainable Finance.

This portfolio reaches out to all policy areas in the European Commission, as we strive for a more sustainable economy and society, and meet the challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Tackling money laundering will also be a core part of the work programme I will be dealing with, as well as regulating the new cryptocurrencies and ensuring consumer protection,” McGuinness added.

Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) President Tim Cullinan has sent his congratulations to Mairead McGuinness.

“Today’s overwhelming endorsement from the parliament, by 583 votes to 75, underlines the stature of Mairead McGuinness on the European stage. I want to wish her well in the role and we look forward to working with her,” he said.

“We are at a very sensitive point in the Brexit negotiations. There was never a greater need for a strong and authoritative Irish nominee at the commission table.

Mairead McGuinness will bring a credible and experienced voice on agriculture to the discussions, which will be crucial in defending our position as the talks head towards a conclusion.

“We welcome the comments from Mairead McGuinness during her hearing last Friday that ‘sustainability is not only green, but social too’. Farmers’ incomes must be supported to deliver a viable income as production costs continue to rise.

“IFA will also be looking to the commissioner to maintain her work on unfair trading practices as a key priority,” he concluded.