Thursday

21st Sep 2017

Barroso has full house of commissioner nominees

  • Half of the commissioners will return to the second Barroso team (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday (24 November) received the final names of commissioner nominees, meaning that he can start the distribution of portfolios, a process keenly watched by national governments.

Reflecting the electoral landscape in the EU, the 27-strong commission will be dominated by the centre-right (13 commissioners), followed by the liberals with eight commissioners and six commissioners from the centre-left.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The would-be new team contains nine women and 14 returning commissioners, including Mr Barroso himself. Of the 14 returning names, some are relatively new such as Briton Catherine Ashton, who came to Brussels last year to replace Peter Mandelson on trade. Belgium's Karel de Gucht, Slovakia's Maros Sefcovic and Lithuania's Algirdas Semeta are also latecomers.

Old hands returning include Luxembourg's Viviane Reding, the Netherlands' Neelie Kroes, Siim Kallas from Estonia, Andris Piebalgs from Latvia and Olli Rehn from Finland.

France's Michel Barnier, meanwhile, is re-treading old ground, having served as a commissioner under Romano Prodi (1999-2004).

It is now up to Mr Barroso to decide who gets which dossier, with internal market, competition, trade and economic and monetary affairs traditionally seen as the key portfolios.

"Let's be blunt, all of us are subject to pressure and requests," he admitted on Tuesday in front of MEPs.

The Portuguese national knows that he has two sets of masters to please - the member states and the European Parliament - who will later put the nominees through their paces during individual hearings in the run-up to a general vote of approval.

Complicating the entire process is that the portfolios range from ones with global importance, such as trade, to those with very little power, such as communication.

Mr Barroso has indicated that he will create completely new posts so there will be commissioners in charge of climate action, justice and fundamental rights and internal affairs.

So far, the only post that is certain is that of Catherine Ashton, who will become the EU's foreign policy chief and a vice-president of the commission.

Le Monde last week reported that Mr Barnier will be given the internal market dossier, but a key point will be whether financial services - essential to the City of London - will be moved somewhere else. Meanwhile, German newspapers report that Guenter Oettinger may be given industry with something else tacked on to flesh out the portfolio, and Dutch papers say that Ms Kroes is in line to get information and communications technology and be a commission vice-president. Spanish media is keen to know whether Joaquin Almunia will stay in charge of economic and monetary affairs.

Another key question will be whether the portfolios are rotated. Legally, there is no obligation to switch them around.

Mr Barroso is expected to announce his full team, complete with portfolios, at some stage next week.

The team will then have some weeks to do their homework before appearing in front of MEPs to be grilled on their competence. The hearings are expected to begin on 11 January.

If all goes without drama, the new commission could come into being at the end of January or beginning of February.

MEPs, however, may prove an upset. They are anxious to re-demonstrate the powers won in 2004 when they pressured an Italian nominee to be withdrawn.

Barroso Commission II

Austria - Johannes Hahn (EPP)

Belgium - Karel De Gucht (ELDR)

Bulgaria - Rumiana Jeleva (EPP)

Cyprus - Androulla Vassiliou (ELDR)

Czech Republic - Stefan Fuele (PES)

Denmark - Connie Hedegaard (EPP)

Estonia - Siim Kallas (ELDR)

Finland - Olli Rehn (ELDR)

France - Michel Barnier (EPP)

Germany - Günther Oettinger (EPP)

Greece - Maria Damanaki (PES)

Hungary - László Andor (PES)

Ireland - Maire Geoghegan Quinn (ELDR)

Italy - Antonio Tajani (EPP)

Latvia - Andris Piebalgs (EPP)

Lithuania - Algirdas Šemeta (EPP)

Luxembourg - Viviane Reding (EPP)

Malta - John Dalli (EPP)

The Netherlands - Neelie Kroes (ELDR)

Poland - Janusz Lewandowski (EPP)

Portugal - Commission President José Manuel Barroso (EPP)

Romania - Dacian Ciolos (EPP)

Slovakia - Maros Sefcovic (PES)

Slovenia - Janez Potocnik (ELDR)

Spain - Joaquín Almunia (PES)

Sweden - Cecilia Malmström (ELDR)

United Kingdom - Catherine Ashton (PES)

Barnier: UK risks undermining trust in Brexit talks

A day before UK PM Theresa May sets out her Brexit strategy in Florence, top EU negotiator Michel Barnier told lawmakers in Rome: there can be no transitional deal for the UK without a withdrawal agreement.

EU 'embarrassed' by the Catalan 'taboo'

Faced with the growing tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments, the member states and EU institutions would prefer not to get involved.

EU takes time to ponder tax on tech giants

The EU commission published a paper that outlined several options on how to increase tax income from internet companies' activities, but fell short of proposing legislation.

Asylum seekers create EU 'limbo' nation

The number of asylum seekers "in limbo" in the EU is likely to be greater than the combined populations of Cyprus and Malta, estimates indicate.

Barnier: UK risks undermining trust in Brexit talks

A day before UK PM Theresa May sets out her Brexit strategy in Florence, top EU negotiator Michel Barnier told lawmakers in Rome: there can be no transitional deal for the UK without a withdrawal agreement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  2. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted
  3. European Federation of Local Energy CompaniesClean Energy for All? On 10.10 Top-Level Speakers Present the Clean Energy Package
  4. UNICEFUp to Three Quarters of Children Face Abuse & Exploitation on Mediterranean Migration Routes
  5. Swedish EnterprisesEurope Under Challenge; Recipe for a Competitive EU
  6. European Public Health AllianceCall to International Action to Break Deadlock on Chronic Diseases Crisis
  7. CES - Silicones EuropePropelling the construction revolution with silicones
  8. EU2017EEEU 2018 Budget: A Case of Three Paradoxes
  9. ACCAUS 'Dash for Gas' Could Disrupt Global Gas Markets
  10. Swedish Enterprises“No Time to Lose” Film & Debate on How Business & Politics Can Fight Climate Change
  11. European Free AllianceSave The Date!! 26.09 - Coppieters Awards To... Carme Forcadell
  12. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Grave Concern Over Rise in Antisemitism in Poland