Last two weeks saw the finalization of the lengthy procedure of the appointment of the new European Commission. After the June EP elections, the European Council proposed Jean-Claude Juncker to the EP, which elected it to be the future Commission President. The Member States then sent their candidates for commissioners. The European Council also appointed the new EU High Representative for foreign and security policy, Federica Mogherini, who is also Commission Vice-President. Once the list of Commissioner-candidates was approved by the Council, the President-elect distributed future portfolios. Next, the nominees were “grilled” by the MEPs regarding their competence in their respective portfolios. All but one nominee passed, Alenka Bratušek of Slovenia resigned after failing to pass the EP vote. This caused a little reshuffle in the Juncker team, but the new Slovenian nominee passed and the team was thus ready for a plenary vote.
On 22 October in Strassbourg, the plenary of the EP approved the new Juncker Commission with 423 votes for, 209 against and 67 abstentions. The new cabinet obtained the backing of the two largest EP groups – the EPP and the S&D, joined by ALDE. The ECR expressed mostly mixed feelings, the Greens/EFA and the leftist GUE/NGL were against. The eurosceptics, most notably EFDD of Mr Farage, who saved his group from dissolving by getting an additional Polish MEP to his group, and the non-aligned opposed quite strongly. Mr Juncker promised the MEPs he will respect the EP and, as a result, announced some minor shifts in portfolios, without changing them substantially though. He also announced a €300 billion investment package for the EU to be prepared before Christmas.
The following day, on 23 October, the European Council formally appointed the new European Commission for the period 1 November 2014 – 31 October 2019. On 1 November 2014, thus, the new European Commission assumed its responsibilities.
31st January 2018
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