Friday

12th Aug 2022

Juncker starts interviews for new EU commission

  • Juncker wants to finalise the commissioner names list by the end of the week (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Incoming EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has started meeting the nominees for his 28-strong college, but gender balance continues to be a problem.

Dutch foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans and Slovene Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek were due to meet Juncker in Brussels on Tuesday (2 September) to present themselves and what portfolios they might be interested in.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Belgium is the only country that has not yet decided on a nominee, with the political parties hesitating between foreign minister Didier Reynders or MEP Marianne Thyssen.

Juncker has promised better jobs to female commissioners, as "compensation" for being outnumbered by their male colleagues.

The female count is also important to secure the vote of the European Parliament, which has threatened to veto any team that has fewer than nine women.

So far only Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden have nominated women. But several other countries - Cyprus, Malta and Romania - have a woman as a plan B candidate.

As to the carve-out of portfolios, the economics post is seen as the top prize. Denmark's economy minister Margrethe Vestager is in the running against France's former finance minister Pierre Moscovici and Finland's ex-PM Jyrki Katainen.

External affairs-related posts also have several contenders. Bulgaria's humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, Dutch foreign minister Timmermans - both Russian-speakers - and two more foreign ministers from Hungary and Belgium are said to be in the running for such posts.

Timmermans is tipped to get a Vice-President post in the EU commission, with Dutch media floating trade as his preferred portfolio.

But Georgieva, who was also touted for the top foreign affairs job and is an internationally respected figure in the field of humanitarian aid, also has good chances of getting a plum job.

Juncker wants to meet all commissioner candidates this week. His finalised list of would-be commissioners must then be agreed by member states. Once this is done, he will announce what portfolio each one will have as well as how he intends to organise the next commission.

All commissioner candidates will then go through hearings in the European Parliament, before a final vote on the entire commission in October.

Commissioner candidates:

Austria - Johannes Hahn, regional policy commissioner

Belgium - Didier Reynders, foreign minister or Marianne Thyssen, MEP

Bulgaria - Kristalina Georgieva, humanitarian aid commissioner

Croatia - Neven Mimica, consumer affairs commissioner

Cyprus - Christos Stylianides, MEP or a woman

Czech Republic - Vera Jourova, regional development minister

Denmark - Margrethe Vestager, economy minister

Estonia - Andrus Ansip, former Prime Minister

Finland - Jyrki Katainen, former Prime Minister

France - Pierre Moscovici, former finance minister

Germany - Guenther Oettinger, energy commissioner

Greece - Dimitris Avramopoulos, defence minister

Hungary - Tibor Navracsics, foreign minister

Ireland - Phil Hogan, former environment minister

Italy - Federica Mogherini - High Representative for foreign and security policy

Latvia - Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister

Lithuania - Vytenis Andriukaitis, former health minister for health

Luxembourg - Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU commission

Malta - Karmenu Vella, tourism minister or a woman

Netherlands - Frans Timmermans, foreign minister

Poland - Elzbieta Bienkowska, minister for infrastructure and development

Portugal - Carlos Moedas, secretary of state dealing with troika

Romania - Dacian Ciolos, agriculture commissioner or Corina Cretu, MEP

Slovakia - Maros Sefocvic, inter-institutional and anti-fraud commissioner

Slovenia - Alenka Bratusek, Prime Minister

Spain - Miguel Arias Canete, former agriculture minister

Sweden - Cecilia Malmstroem, home affairs commissioner

UK - Lord Hill, former leader of the House of Lords

Agenda

EU commissioner portfolio decisions this WEEK

A major piece in the making of the EU institutional puzzle is to go into place next week when incoming EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker hands out portfolios to his team of commissioners.

Names list for new EU commission complete

The list of proposed new EU commissioners is now complete, with enough women for the European Parliament to approve the 28-strong team led by Jean-Claude Juncker.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us