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.
With Romania finally deciding on Thursday (4 September) to send Socialist MEP Corina Cretu to meet Juncker for the commissioner post, the count of female commissioners was raised to nine, the minimum required by MEPs.
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Cretu, 47, is a former presidential spokeswoman who made headlines last year when the email account of former US foreign secretary Colin Powell was hacked and a series of intimate emails between him and Cretu were published, prompting the US politician to deny he ever had an affair with her.
Cretu trumped Romania's outgoing commissioner for agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, who was Romania's initial nomination, because of the EP's condition for at least nine women to be part of the commission.
The centre-right opposition in Bucharest meanwhile has written a letter to Juncker accusing the Socialist government of having "illegally" appointed her, without the approval of the Romanian Parliament.
Earlier on Thursday, Belgium also decided in favour of a woman, centre-right MEP Marianne Thyssen, instead of sending foreign minister Didier Reynders for the commissioner post.
The college of commissioners consists of one member from each EU country, but in theory they should not represent their capitals and be qualified for their portfolios.
In practice, however, commissioners often defend their national interests, especially when policies tabled by the entire college affect their country's industry or financial services.
Countries are also pushing for weighty portfolios by sending high-profile politicians: four Prime Ministers (Slovenia, Finland, Estonia and Latvia), three foreign ministers (Italy, the Netherlands and Hungary) two ministers for economy and finance (Denmark and France) and six other ministers ranging from defence to environment and health.
Juncker, himself a former prime minister, has indicated he will reshuffle the portfolios and give female commissioners better posts "as compensation" for being outnumbered by their male colleagues.
In an interview with EUobserver back in July, Juncker's chief of staff, Martin Selmayr spoke also of a restructuring which would put former prime ministers in "filtering" vice-president roles, a sort of deputies to Juncker with the authority to select what policies get done.
With several leaks of the alleged organigram circulating on social media, Juncker's spokeswoman on Thursday said "we are currently at number 54 of the various commission models".
Juncker met all the 27 candidates throughout the week to sound out what they might be qualified for and interested in doing. He will send out the names list for formal approval by the council on Friday and then work some more on carving out the portfolios, which he will communicate to the European Parliament mid-next week.
The candidates will then have to go through parliamentary hearings, before a final vote on the entire Juncker commission in October.
Austria - Johannes Hahn, regional policy commissioner, 56, EPP
Belgium - Marianne Thyssen, MEP, 58, EPP
Bulgaria - Kristalina Georgieva, humanitarian aid commissioner, 61, EPP
Croatia - Neven Mimica, consumer affairs commissioner, 60, S&D
Cyprus - Christos Stylianides, MEP, 56, EPP
Czech Republic - Vera Jourova, regional development minister, 49, ALDE
Denmark - Margrethe Vestager, economy minister, 46, ALDE
Estonia - Andrus Ansip, former Prime Minister, 57, ALDE
Finland - Jyrki Katainen, former Prime Minister, 42, EPP
France - Pierre Moscovici, former finance minister, 56, S&D
Germany - Guenther Oettinger, energy commissioner, 60, EPP
Greece - Dimitris Avramopoulos, defence minister, 61, EPP
Hungary - Tibor Navracsics, foreign minister, 48, EPP
Ireland - Phil Hogan, former environment minister, 54, EPP
Italy - Federica Mogherini, foreign minister nominated for High Representative for foreign and security policy, 41, S&D
Latvia - Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister, 42, EPP
Lithuania - Vytenis Andriukaitis, former health minister for health, 63, S&D
Luxembourg - Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister, elected President of the EU commission, 59, EPP
Malta - Karmenu Vella, tourism minister, 64, S&D
Netherlands - Frans Timmermans, foreign minister, 53, S&D
Poland - Elzbieta Bienkowska, minister for infrastructure and development, 50, EPP
Portugal - Carlos Moedas, secretary of state dealing with troika, 43, EPP
Romania - Corina Cretu, MEP, 47, S&D
Slovakia - Maros Sefocvic, inter-institutional and anti-fraud commissioner, 48, S&D
Slovenia - Alenka Bratusek, Prime Minister, 44, ALDE
Spain - Miguel Arias Canete, former agriculture minister, 64, EPP
Sweden - Cecilia Malmstroem, home affairs commissioner, 46, ALDE
UK - Lord Hill, former leader of the House of Lords, 53, ECR