Cyprus & World News

COMMISSION: Juncker’s new team, Stylianides gets ‘Internet and Culture’

03 September, 2014

President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker may still be interviewing candidates for Commissioners, but the EU news and policy site EurActiv has seen a draft organigram in which every single commissioner is assigned a portfolio.

Juncker is currently wrapping up a series of face-to face interviews with the 27 Commissioners-designate and is expected to announce his line up early next week. Already, outgoing Council President Herman Van Rompuy presented his successor after a leaders’ summit last Saturday, with Poland’s Donald Tusk stepping down as Prime Minister to move to Brussels in November, while Italy’s Federica Mogherini is seen as taking High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President in the new Commission, a compromise to bring the Socialists on board.
Some of the changes suggest that the Internal Market portfolio, currently held by France’s Michel Barnier, has disappeared, while the Digital Agenda portfolio, currently held by Neelie Kroes, is shared between Slovenia’s Alenka Bratusek who takes over as Vice President for Digital and Innovation and Cypriot EPP Commissioner Christos Stylianides in charge of Internet and Culture.
There is no commissioner for enlargement, a new post of Vice President for Better Regulation has appeared, as has a new post for Vice President for Energy Union (in addition to the commissioner for Energy and Climate), and a new Vice President for Growth, Economic and Monetary Union, European Semester & Social Dialogue.
There are six Vice Presidents in the proposed Commission, including Mogherini:
Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska (EPP), with Budget and Financial Control; Estonia’s Andrus Ansip (ALDE) for Growth, EMU, European Semester and Social Dialogue; Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovkis (EPP) for Energy Union; Slovenia’s Alenka Bratusek for Digital and Innovation; and, the Netherlands’ Frans Timmermans for Better Regulation.
Overall, the new Commission appears quite balanced politically. The centre-right EPP group has 12 portfolios, including two Vice Presidents. The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) have eight portfolios, including two Vice Presidents, and the liberal ALDE family has five portfolios, including two Vice Presidents.

The new portfolio for Better Regulation, assigned to the Netherlands, should please UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who has led a campaign for less red tape and regulation in EU policy-making. However, he won’t like the portfolio assigned to the UK commissioner Jonathan Hill (ECR), on Energy and Climate Change. Cameron had asked for a super-commissioner, but Hill is likely to be under the umbrella of Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice President for Energy Union.
The same could be said regarding France’s Pierre Moscovici, who gets the Competition portfolio. Paris has sought the economic affairs portfolio, which according to the draft, will go to Finland’s Jyrki Katainen who already holds this portfolio he inherited from Olli Rehn.
There is some confusion in the document about audit, customs and anti-fraud, currently held by commissioner Algirdas Šemeta.
There is a vice-presidency for budget and financial control, a separate customs commissioner and a commissioner for justice and anti-fraud.
Anti-fraud has risen up the executive’s agenda since the financial crisis made it vital member states access the revenue they are due.
But the country that has got the worst deal is Belgium, which is assigned the portfolio for Skills, Youth and Multilingualism. The Belgian press reports that Marianne Thyssen, a Flemish EPP centre-right MEP, will get the job, contradicting earlier rumours saying Belgium would nominate outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders as its next Commissioner.
Thyssen's nomination would bring the number of women in the new EU executive to nine, avoiding a political battle in the European Parliament.
Romania, which lobbied to retain the agriculture portfolio currently held by Dacian Cioloş, is likely to obtain Humanitarian Aid for Corina Creţu (S&D). Surprisingly, the coveted agriculture portfolio is attributed to Ireland’s Phil Hogan.
Bulgaria may consider itself a victim of the late arrival to the race of Poland’s Bieńkowska. Kristalina Georgieva, the current Bulgarian commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid, gets Taxation and Fight against Fraud, and misses the Vice President title.

Some candidates who have held important positions in their countries have obtained “extras” in the Juncker organigram. Bratušek who still serves as Prime Minister of Slovenia gets a Vice President job, and so is Valdis Dombrovkis, a former Prime Minister of Latvia, and Estonia’s Andrus Ansip, who was the longest-serving head of government in the EU (2005-2014).
Günther Oettinger, the incumbent energy commissioner, will get the trade portfolio in the next EU executive, as Germany wanted. This means her would also become chief negotiator for the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Croatia’s Neven Mimica (S&D), the current commissioner for consumer protection, will get the coveted job of Regional Policy commissioner, while Austria’s Johannes Hahn (EPP) will get the neighbourhood portfolio, which has assumed geostrategic importance in the light of the Ukraine crisis.
Malta’s Karmenu Vella (S&D) will get the fisheries portfolio; Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager (ALDE) will get Environment; Lithuania’s Vytenis Andruikaitis, a physician by training, will be responsible for Health and Food Safety; and, Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos (EPP) gets Migration, Fundamental Rights and Home Affairs.
Slovakia’s current Commission Vice President and commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration Maroš Šefčovič (S&D) is clearly downgraded to holder of the Development portfolio. Spain, that hoped to get an important portfolio for its candidate Miguel Arias Cañete (EPP), is likely to be disappointed by his attribution of Research and Innovation.
The Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová (ALDE), a Regional Development Minister who was presented as a candidate for the portfolio of regional funds, is in fact assigned Transport and Space.
The remaining attributions are Customs for Hungary’s Tibor Navraczics (EPP), and Employment and Social Affairs for Portugal’s Carlos Moedas (EPP).