Rough Ride in Brussels for Petrolhead Politician – Maserati Centenary

The motorsport-loving proposed EU Climate & Energy Commissioner is expected to get a rough ride at his confirmation hearing in Brussels next month.

The Luxembourg PM lashes out at the German ‘foreigner toll’. An Austrian speed cop sets off a booby-trapped slurry bomb. Moscow vigilantes join the hunt for the GTA killers.



Sacrificial lamb or bold appointment for the new European Commission?

Miguel Arias Canete.

Miguel Arias Canete. Photo

A man with a collection of classic British sports cars can’t be all bad, can he?

As well as an MGB 1800, Manuel Arias Canete – proposed European Commissioner for Climate & Energy – owns a 1965 Mini Cooper S and an unidentified Morgan, and as well as a 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV.

Before assuming high office in the Spanish government, Canete raced and rallied his cars at the events such as the Monte Carlo and Le Mans Classics.

If it was just a taste for motorsport then Canete might squeeze past the nomination hearings at the European Parliament next month. As it is he has a few other vulnerabilities that might bring him down, and the Juncker Commission with him.

Canete first came to international attention last May for saying, ‘Holding a debate with a woman is complicated, because showing intellectual superiority could be seen as sexist.’

As Spain’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and Environment from 2011-14 he was dogged with conflict of interest accusations due to his business interests.

He is married to a member of the Domecq family – as in the sherry – which also, among other things, breeds fighting bulls.

Until yesterday, Canete also owned shares in two oil companies.

The knives are certainly out in Brussels with even the Spanish socialists saying they will vote against his appointment.

In theory, the European Parliament cannot vote against individual candidates. Either all must be accepted or none. Previously however, undesirables have been quickly substituted and the whole line-up resubmitted.

The only other serious objection to Juncker’s Commission – apart from, possibly, the British candidate – is that there aren’t enough women. One wag suggests Juncker may be using Canete to kill two birds with one stone: as red meat to throw to a European Parliament desperate to assert its power then replacing him with a female candidate.

The official timetable is yet to be published but Canete is apparently set to face MEPs on 1 October.



Click to enlarge, via @KGeorgievaEU


roundup: LUXEMBOURG. ‘The [German foreigner] toll is contrary to the idea of Europe,’ said recently elected Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Saarbrucken yesterday according to He later threatened to introduce a similar toll in Luxembourg though that was later denied by his spokesman in a rather long-winded discussion on Twitter. AUSTRIA. A booby trapped bucket of slurry exploded three metres from a traffic officer as he prepared to set up a speed trap in Molltal yesterday. RUSSIA. Vigilantes are now in on the hunt for the Grand Theft Auto Gang haunting Moscow’s M4 Don highway. The local Smotra street racing group, numbering about 150 men in 50 cars, some armed, have stepped in as police are unable to solve a case that has resulted in fourteen apparently motiveless murders since May. Smotra have been stopping and searching cars and warning drivers about the dangers of driving on M4 at night says RT.


The Maserati Centennial celebration kicks off today in Bologna with a ‘World Gathering’. See, #Maserati100 or find the new, free smartphone app with event listings:


Latest Crossing the Channel special offers: bikers heading for the Magny Cours Superbike festival in October can cross with MyFerryLink Dover-Calais from £35 each way. Book a short break with P&O Dover-Calais before this Thursday – 18 September – for travel before 17 October, and get a free £5 beauty voucher with three day returns at £48, or five day returns for £56 (offer code 5BTVCH).


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