Thursday

5th May 2016

Six commissioners head for EU election campaign trail

  • Seven of the EU's twenty eight commissioners are standing in May's European Parliament elections (Photo: European Parliament)

Six EU commissioners will officially hit the campaign trail later this month as part of their candidacies for May's European elections.

Economic affairs chief Olli Rehn, justice commissioner Viviane Reding, industry boss Antonio Tajani, administration commissioner Maros Sefcovic, EU budget chief Janusz Lewandowski, consumer protection commissioner Neven Mimica are all standing for the EU assembly.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In a statement on Wednesday (2 April), European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso granted electoral leave to the Commissioners between 19 April and 25 May, with the exception of Rehn whose electoral leave will start next week on 7 April.

Under the rules of the EU executive's Code of Conduct the leave period is unpaid and during that period the commissioners are forbidden from using the commission's resources. All commissioners on electoral leave will return to work on 26 May, the day after the votes of Europeans are counted.

Of the seven commissioners hoping to win over voters, Finnish economic affairs official Olli Rehn, who has been the commission's point-man throughout the eurozone crisis, is the most well known. Despite being defeated by Belgian Guy Verhofstadt as the pan-EU Liberal party's candidate for commission president, Rehn is widely expected to win a seat running on the ticket of Finland's liberal centre party.

In the meantime, Estonian transport commissioner Siim Kallas will take over Rehn's responsibilities.

Elsewhere, In a reshuffle of portfolios, Sefcovic will have his duties taken over by Barroso.

Meanwhile, Reding's portfolio will be taken over by Johannes Hahn, the Austrian commissioner for regional policy, while internal market chief Michel Barnier will take over Tajani's post.

Latvian development commissioner Andris Piebalgs will take responsibility for Lewandowski's role, and Hungary's Laszlo Andor will add Mimica's consumer portfolio to his employment brief.

All the candidates have been placed at the top of their party's election list and are almost certain to be elected in May.

Meanwhile, trade commissioner Karel De Gucht will also try to get an MEP post. But he is just the 12th and last candidate for the Verhofstadt-led Flemish liberal party in Belgium and will not actively campaign, leaving him free to continue his EU duties.

If elected, those who decide to take up their seat in the 751-member Parliament will be expected to resign from the commission by the end of June.

But some argue that commissioners elected as MEPs should immediately stand down from the EU executive to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Feature

Renzi's chance to act like a grown-up

With other EU states busy on internal issues, the Italian PM sees a chance to push his vision of Europe. Friday's Papal visit by EU leaders will showcase the new Renzi.

EU recovery to slow this year

On just 1.8 percent growth, the commission's forecast is less optimistic than before because of an instable global economy and lack of results of EU reforms.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament drivers forced to open doors and carry bags
  2. EU Commission proposes visa-free travel for Turkey
  3. Iceland in court for not respecting EU laws
  4. Sweden registers more asylum application withdrawals
  5. German Pegida leader convicted of inciting hatred
  6. ECB expected to stop printing €500 notes
  7. Spain dissolves parliament for 26 June election
  8. Germany to legalise cannabis for medicinal use

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppetiersBrexit Could Increase Support for Independence in Pro-EU Scotland
  2. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  3. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  4. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  5. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  6. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  7. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  8. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  9. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  10. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs