EU Commission nominee inspired by Rumsfeld
By David Brunnstrom
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner designate Olli Rehn drew inspiration from former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a hearing in the European Parliament this week.
Each prospective commissioner has to endure a three-hour grilling to check their credentials.
During Rehn’s hearing , Sharon Bowles, the British head of parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, outlined three areas in which the parliament expected close cooperation with Rehn, including early delivery of documents and information.
To make life easier for Rehn , she said: “You could say yes three times.”
The Finnish EU veteran, who is known to choose his words with meticulous care, showed he was not seeking a quick rush for the exit despite the length of the hearing.
“I will keep you informed of both known knowns, unknown knowns, known unknowns, but I’m not sure if I can stretch to the unknown unknowns. Because if i don’t know what is happening on some issue how can I not reveal that? That’s going to be a major challenge,” Rehn said, prompting an outburst of laughter.
This was a tongue-in-cheek paraphrase of Rumsfeld’s statement on Feb. 12 , 2002, when asked about the situation in Afghanistan, in which he referred to “known knowns…known unknowns (and)…unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. “