5th September 2014

Names of future Commissioners known, portfolio distribution under way

On 4 September, Belgium sent the last Commissioner-nominee name to the President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker and thus the full list of the college of Commissioners is known. The next day, on 5 September, in accordance with the Treaty on European Union, the Council formally adopted the list of future members of the European Commission. The list of 28 people, one from each Member State, will now be forwarded to the European Parliament. Also, the President-elect will distribute the portfolios to the individual Commissioners – the decision expected to be published early this week. The European Parliament will then “test” the proposed Commissioners in a process called “grilling”, after which the whole Commission is to be voted on by the plenary. Once the approval of the European Parliament is obtained, the European Council will appoint the new Commission to serve until October 2019.

Politically, the college will be quite balanced, with the center-right EPP, winner of the EP elections, holding the most Commissioners – 12, followed closely by its informal grand-coalition partner, the center-left S&D with 8 posts. The liberals (ALDE) are to hold 5 posts and the last Commissioner is held by the Conservatives and Reformists. EPP, S&D and ALDE also hold 2 Vice-Presidents each.

In terms of gender, concerns were continuously raised by Mr Juncker about the lack of women in the proposed list. The MEPs have indicated that a Commission without at least 9 women, the same number as in the outgoing college, has no chance of getting the approval. As Belgium nominated Ms Marianne Thyssen, the number of women reached 9 and therefore no problems are expected in this regard.

On 4 September, Euractiv published also the alleged distribution of portfolios, leaked from inside Mr Juncker´s team. Although the list is surely subject to change, Euractiv analysts pointed out several differences from the current state and other important points. Firstly, digital agenda is promoted to a vice-presidency post and part of its agenda is attributed to another dedicated Commissioner for “internet and culture”. A new vice-presidency post for Energy Union appears apart from the energy and climate change portfolio. Also, internal market and enlargement are no longer Commissioner portfolios. In terms of national distribution of important portfolios, analysts point out some winners and some loosers. Ex-prime ministers of Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia all get Vice-President posts, as expected. It is also debated, that the ex-PMs should serve as umbrella Commissioners, covering other quasi-subordinated portfolios. Finnish ex-prime minister Jyrki Katainen misses Vice-Presidency, however, he should get the extremely important Economic and Monetary Affairs. Croatian Commissioner is expected to hold Regional Policy portfolio, which comes as a surprise, as the post is very valued due to huge amounts of money it controls. On the other hand, the late-comer Belgium, as well as Slovakia or the Czech Republic have reason to be sad. Belgium gets Multilingualism, the Czech Ms Věra Jourová will miss Regional Policy and will get Transport and the Slovak Mr. Maroš Šefčovič will lose Vice-Presidency and become Commissioner for Development. Many analysts point out, though, that the portfolio distribution will surely differ from that indicated by the leaked document.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic