Monday

21st Sep 2020

Juncker set to unveil new commission

  • The new EU commission college will meet in this room (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The new EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to present his new team and their posts on Wednesday (10 September).

With the carve-out of portfolios still ongoing on Tuesday, there is little certainty as to who will get what job, except for Italy's foreign minister Federica Mogherini who will be the youngest on the team and heading the double-hatted foreign affairs job representing both member states and being a Vice-President in the 28-strong college of commissioners.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

At least six other names are being touted for Vice-President jobs: the former Prime Ministers of Estonia (Andrus Ansip), Finland (Jyrki Katainen), Latvia (Valdis Dombrovskis), the current Prime Minister of Slovenia (Alenka Bratusek), Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans and the Bulgarian commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva.

Bratusek, tipped to become innovation and digital agenda commissioner, is the subject of an inquiry back home about how she nominated herself without any party's support. The probe could thwart her candidacy when she faces members of the European Parliament in committee hearings.

Another problematic candidate could be Ireland's nominee Phil Hogan, who is supposed to become agriculture commissioner. Hogan is facing questions over his oversight of Irish Water, a partly state-owned company which spent over €50 million on external consultants camouflaged in the contracts as IT, support and customer billing services.

Hogan maintains that he was only aware of the overall spending and did not "micro-manage" the different expenditures.

Another commissioner who may run into problems is Hungary's foreign minister Tibor Navracsics, tipped to take the taxation portfolio. MEPs may give him an extra tough grilling since he is a member of the government led by PM Viktor Orban, whose steps curbing media freedom and clamping down on foreign-funded NGOs have caused concern in Brussels.

German media also reported that France's former finance minister Pierre Moscovici, in line for the plum economics and monetary affairs portfolio, could see centre-right MEPs question whether he will be as fiscally rigourous as his predecessors.

Moscovici, a Socialist politician, could be flanked by Denmark's market liberal economy minister Margrethe Vestager as commissioner for financial services and by Belgium's centre-right MEP Marianne Thyssen in charge of competition. They will all be under the coordinating role of Finnish ex-PM Katainen, himself a former finance minister and a fiscal hawk.

Germany's commissioner Guenther Oettinger meanwhile is tipped to get either the trade portfolio and be in charge of the EU-US free trade agreement which is most controversial in Germany or the Internet regulation post - again something dear to Berlin's heart.

Meanwhile, Poland or Bulgaria are likely to get the budget portfolio, while Romania seems to have secured regional policy. A top MP in Romania on Tuesday congratulated Romanian commissioner nominee Corina Cretu for securing this dossier, a statement he later retracted as it broke an embargo set by Juncker.

In tweets late Monday evening, Juncker's chief of staff Martin Selmayr said there will be "surprises" when the commission is unveiled, "Wednesday/Thursday."

"TeamJunckerEU will be strong team. But different from what some expect. Portfolios are given to people, not to countries," he tweeted.

Possible portfolios

Austria - Johannes Hahn, regional policy commissioner, 56, EPP - EMPLOYMENT&SOCIAL AFFAIRS or INDUSTRY or NEIGHBOURHOOD&ENLARGEMENT

Belgium - Marianne Thyssen, MEP, 58, EPP, FINANCIAL SERVICES

Bulgaria - Kristalina Georgieva, humanitarian aid commissioner, 61, EPP - Vice-President for BUDGET or TAXATION&ANTI-FRAUD

Croatia - Neven Mimica, consumer affairs commissioner, 60, S&D, FISHERIES or HUMANITARIAN AID

Cyprus - Christos Stylianides, MEP, 56, EPP, SOCIAL AFFAIRS or CULTURE

Czech Republic - Vera Jourova, regional development minister, 49, ALDE, TRANSPORT or REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Denmark - Margrethe Vestager, economy minister, 46, ALDE, COMPETITION

Estonia - Andrus Ansip, former Prime Minister, 57, ALDE - Vice-President for DIGITAL AGENDA or GROWTH

Finland - Jyrki Katainen, former Prime Minister, 42, EPP - Vice-President for ECONOMY&FINANCE

France - Pierre Moscovici, former finance minister, 56, S&D - ECONOMIC&MONETARY AFFAIRS

Germany - Guenther Oettinger, energy commissioner, 60, EPP - TELECOMS&DIGITAL or TRADE

Greece - Dimitris Avramopoulos, defence minister, 61, EPP, MIGRATION&HOME AFFAIRS

Hungary - Tibor Navracsics, foreign minister, 48, EPP - TAXATION

Ireland - Phil Hogan, former environment minister, 54, EPP - AGRICULTURE

Italy - Federica Mogherini, foreign minister, 41, S&D - HIGH REPRESENTATIVE for foreign and security policy

Latvia - Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister, 42, EPP, Vice-President for MONETARY&ECONOMIC AFFAIRS or GROWTH&SOCIAL DIALOGUE

Lithuania - Vytenis Andriukaitis, former health minister for health, 63, S&D, HEALTH&FOOD SAFETY

Luxembourg - Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister, 59, EPP - elected PRESIDENT of the EU commission

Malta - Karmenu Vella, tourism minister, 64, S&D, FISHERIES&MARITIME AFFAIRS or YOUTH&MULTILINGUALISM

Netherlands - Frans Timmermans, foreign minister, 53, S&D, Vice-President for BETTER REGULATION with veto right on other commissioners

Poland - Elzbieta Bienkowska, minister for infrastructure and development, 50, EPP, BUDGET or INTERNAL MARKET

Portugal - Carlos Moedas, secretary of state dealing with troika, 43, EPP, RESEARCH or EMPLOYMENT&SOCIAL AFFAIRS

Romania - Corina Cretu, MEP, 47, S&D, REGIONAL POLICY

Slovakia - Maros Sefocvic, inter-institutional and anti-fraud commissioner, 48, S&D, DEVELOPMENT or NEIGHBOURHOOD&ENLARGEMENT

Slovenia - Alenka Bratusek, Prime Minister, 44, ALDE, VICE-PRESIDENT for INNOVATION

Spain - Miguel Arias Canete, former agriculture minister, 64, EPP, TRANSPORT or RESEARCH&INNOVATION

Sweden - Cecilia Malmstroem, home affairs commissioner, 46, ALDE, JUSTICE or HUMAN RIGHTS

UK - Lord Hill, former leader of the House of Lords, 53, ECR, ENERGY&CLIMATE

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.

Analysis

Success of Juncker team depends on 'uber-commissioners'

Incoming EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has come up with a canny distribution of portfolios for this new team but a layer of 'uber-commissioners' is potentially the most important change.

Analysis

The State of the Union speech - digested

The 61-year old former German defence minister, who only narrowly won the backing of MEPs last year, outlined not a vision, but an ambitious list of policies to tackle - including more health care competencies to the EU.

EU regions: pandemic should force decision-making rethink

EU regions say the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe is a "timely opportunity" to debate how to make local and regional authorities full- involved in the EU response to Covid-19 - even including possible EU treaty changes.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus president puts army on EU borders
  2. US: Lebanese group hoarding explosives in EU states
  3. Russia loses EU sanctions appeal
  4. UK guidelines explain Brexit treaty-violation plan
  5. Over 10,000 corona cases a day in France
  6. Greek police move Moria refugees following fire
  7. WHO warns Europe not to cut 14-day quarantine period
  8. MEPs urge EU Council to 'finally' protect rights in Poland

Opinion

Why so few women in EU missions?

Angela Merkel is only the seventh woman to chair the Council of the European Union's meetings. And in 2020 there is no woman leading any of the current 11 European civilian missions (let alone the six military operations).

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Commissioner: No one will like new EU migration pact
  2. Buying an EU passport 'no use for evading sanctions'
  3. MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion
  4. EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security
  5. Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal
  6. Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens
  7. Does Erdoğan's long arm now reach Belgian universities?
  8. Biden threatens UK trade deal over Brexit shambles

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us