The Commission has sent the names of two candidates to the Parliament and the Council after a selection process involving up to 100 applicants. The Council was to interview the candidates – Morten Kjærum, the director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and Italian national Dario Carminati, representative of the United Nations’ refugees agency in Angola – on Tuesday (18 December) but put off the interviews so that they could be conducted by the Parliament on the same trip to Brussels.The Parliament refused to interview them this week as it was waiting for a reply to a letter sent by Hans-Gert Pöttering, the Parliament president, to Commission President José Manuel Barroso, complaining about the submission of just two candidates when a list of at least four was requested. “The submission to Parliament of a list [comprising] an inferior number of candidates reduces the role of our institution in the nomination procedure,” Pöttering wrote in a letter dated 11 December.The Commission insists that the procedure is normal. “A short-list of two candidates is not unusual,” said a Commission spokeswoman. “We have noted the wishes of Parliament. The list compiled by the Commission according to the rules depends on the performance of candidates at successive stages of the selection process,” she added.The Commission had selected three final candidates but one had since dropped out, one EU diplomat said.The new agency, based in Vienna, was launched in January. Following a row between member states over how broad its scrutiny of human rights in the EU should be, its remit was restricted to discrimination and racism with no scrutiny over national police and security personnel.