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The legacy of MGQ

As Máire Geoghegan-Quinn finishes her term as EU research commissioner, Laura Greenhalgh asks how she’ll be remembered for her 5 years in the Berlaymont.

On 13 January 2010, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn gave her first performance for EU research at her confirmation hearing at the European Parliament. Wearing a purple suit, she portrayed herself as a forceful and confident woman and was warmly received by MEPs as she promised to bring research and innovation “to the heart of European policy”.

Five years later, opinions on her success are mixed. A retired Irish politician, Geoghegan-Quinn entered the European Commission after a decade with the European Court of Auditors—and some say this lack of scientific experience showed. “As a trained teacher and a politician, she had no real confidence when it came to understanding the heartbeat of the globe,” says one Brussels lobbyist. “Nobody in science knows who she is.”

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