Monday

11th Nov 2019

Barroso shifts EU commission jobs between France and Italy

  • Some changing of jobs in the EU commission's headquarters are afoot (Photo: Wikipedia)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has decided that Italy's new commissioner should take over the transport portfolio rather than keep the justice and home affairs job.

The announcement on late Tuesday (22 April) followed signals from Rome that the current justice chief Franco Frattini is to become his country's new foreign minister in the centre-right cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

French commissioner Jacques Barrot, previously in charge of transport, is now to take on the high profile justice and security post.

Mr Barroso said in a statement that Mr Barrot had substituted for his Italian colleague during Mr Frattini's temporary leave around the election "in an outstanding way".

For that reason, as well as "in order to fully ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the complex and sensitive work in the justice, liberty and security portfolio" he has asked the French commissioner "to take responsibility for the portfolio for the rest of the mandate."

The justice portfolio is considered one of the most prominent jobs in the EU executive, while the transport post would give an Italian commissioner an insight into Brussels' dealing with Alitalia, the struggling Italian airline

Italy's outgoing prime minister, Romano Prodi, has expressed disappointment over the portfolio swap. He said that while he is aware that it is up to the commission president to assign portfolios, these decisions should be made in conjunction with national governments.

Mr Barroso's move is likely to have been to try and pre-empt any controversy over Italy's possible candidate to replace Mr Frattini.

Several MEPs have been preparing for a tough hearing of the new Italian designate.

With Italian media mentioning Antonio Tajani, a centre-right MEP from Mr Berlusconi's party Forza Italia, as the most likely candidate, some deputies were concerned that he may share the tough views on immigration of his party boss.

In 2004, MEPs rejected Rocco Buttiglione, the original nominee of Mr Berlusconi's previous cabinet, for his views on homosexuals and women. Rome eventually substituted Mr Buttiglione with Mr Frattini.

Mr Barroso's commission is due in office until autumn 2009. So far, Mr Frattini is the third commissioner to take temporary or permanent leave from their European duties.

The Belgian commissioner in charge of development, Louis Michel, took part in national elections last year but then returned to his job in commission while the former Cypriot commissioner Markos Kyprianou left after he was appointed foreign minister at home.

EU parliament quietly keeps visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to police in case of investigations.

French EU nominee loses vote and is out

France's nominee for EU commissioner lost the vote on her candidacy, with 82 MEPs against and 29 in favour, after hard questions in a second hearing.

News in Brief

  1. EU's climate contribution exceeds €20bn annually
  2. EU-Singapore trade deal enters into force this month
  3. Commission will not probe Borrell over Catalan tweet
  4. Frontex gets its European border police force
  5. EU Parliament loses funding case against Farage-led party
  6. US will not impose car tariffs, says Juncker
  7. Merkel disagrees with Macron on Nato
  8. Migrants in Malta transferred after EU deal

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

EP president threatens MEP with sanctions over a tweet

The president of the European parliament, David Sassoli, has threatened the leader the leftist GUE/NGL group, Manon Aubry, over a tweet in which she encouraged the eco-activist group Extinction Rebellion to occupy the European parliament.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK
  2. Bosnia wants explanation for Macron's 'time-bomb' remark
  3. MEPs slam Commission over common charger delay
  4. Erdogan: refugees will enter Europe unless EU does more
  5. Cleaning up both the EU and Western Balkans
  6. Can Sunday's election end Spain's endless deadlock?
  7. Up to 750 European children trapped in north-east Syria
  8. EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us