Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

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.

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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.

MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

The EU parliament's internal chiefs have so far refused to introduce mandatory training on dealing with sexual harassment. MEPs have now asked for it again.

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