Juncker starts interviews for new EU commission
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.
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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.
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