New European Commission Set To Achieve More

Following weeks of speculation and laborious efforts to prevent any extensive leaks to the press, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced the line-up of the next European Commission on Tuesday 9 September.

Led for the first time ever by a female President, the new European Commission team includes eight Vice-Presidents and achieves an almost perfect gender balance (14 men to 13 women):

Ursula von der Leyen (Germany), President: A steady member of German governments under Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen served as her country’s defence minister for six years until her appointment as President of the European Commission in July.

Frans Timmermans (Netherlands), Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal: A former Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans will serve as Vice-President for a second term, this time managing the EU’s climate action policy.

Margrethe Vestager (Denmark), Executive Vice-President for the Digital Age: Former Danish minister and outgoing Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager will be in charge of efforts to make “Europe fit for the digital age”.

Johannes Hahn (Austria), Budget and administration: Serving his third term as Austria’s designated Commissioner, Johannes Hahn will be focusing on budget and administration modernisation.

Didier Reynders (Belgium), Justice: Having formerly served as Finance Minister, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Minister of Defence of Belgium, Didier Reynders will be responsible for justice and rule of law issues.

Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria), Innovation and Youth: Outgoing Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and former MEP Mariya Gabriel will be now working to “create new perspectives for the young generation”.

Dubravka Šuica (Croatia), Vice-president for Democracy and Demography: Former Mayor of the city Dubrovnik and MEP Dubravka Šuica will lead efforts for a new impetus to Europe’s democracy.

Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus), Health: A medical psychologist with long experience in social affairs and cancer prevention, Stella Kyriakides will be in charge of the health portfolio.

Věra Jourová (Czech Republic), Vice-President for Values and Transparency: Outgoing Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová will be defending the EU’s common values.

Kadri Simson (Estonia), Energy: Former Estonian deputy and national Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kadri Simson will be in charge of the EU’s energy policy.

Jutta Urpilainen (Finland), International Partnerships: Former Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen will be in charge of the EU’s international partnerships.

Sylvie Goulard (France), Internal Market: Former Member of European Parliament and current deputy governor of the French central bank, Sylvie Goulard will lead EU’s work on industrial policy and promote the Digital Single Market.

Margaritis Schinas (Greece), Vice-President for Protecting our European way of life: Former MEP and recent European Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas will be covering closely interlinked portfolios, such as education, the labour market, migration and security.

László Trócsányi (Hungary), Neighborhood and Enlargement: Former Justice Minister of Hungary László Trócsányi will lead the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement portfolio.

Phil Hogan (Ireland), Trade: Incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan will be putting his previous experience to use within the new trade portfolio.

Paolo Gentiloni (Italy), Economy: Former Italian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has been assigned with the politically significant economy portfolio.

Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia), Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People: Outgoing Vice-President and former Prime Minister of Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis will lead efforts to bring together the social and the market in the European economy.

Virginijus Sinkevičius (Lithuania), Environment and Oceans: The youngest member of the new Commission team, Lithuanian Minister for Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius will be responsible for “Environment and Oceans”.

Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg), Jobs: Former MEP Nicolas Schmit will be bringing his experience as national Minister for Employment and Labour of Luxembourg to the Commission’s employment portfolio.

Helena Dalli (Malta), Equality: Having served as Minister for European Affairs and Equality of Malta, Helena Dalli will be leading the Union’s equality portfolio.

Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland), Agriculture: Former MEP and currently Member of the European Court of Auditors Janusz Wojciechowski will be in charge of the EU’s agriculture policy.

Elisa Ferreira (Portugal), Cohesion and Reforms: Current Deputy Governor of the Bank of Portugal, former MEP and national minister Elisa Ferreira will seek to strengthen the EU’s cohesion and reforms performance.

Rovana Plumb (Romania), Transport: MEP and former Minister for Transport of Romania Rovana Plumb will be now in charge of the EU’s wider transport policy.

Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia), Vice-President for Relations and Foresight: Entering his third Commission term, Maroš Šefčovič will be managing relations between the EU’s institutions.

Janez Lenarčič (Slovenia), Crisis Management: Former Secretary of State for European Affairs of Slovenia, Janez Lenarčič will be bringing his long diplomatic experience to the crisis management portfolio.

Josep Borrell (Spain), Vice-President for A Stronger Europe in the World/ High Representative: Current Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell will succeed Federica Mogherini as the Union’s High-Representative of for Foreign Policy and Security Policy.

Ylva Johansson (Sweden), Home Affairs: Current Minister for Employment of Sweden Ylva Johansson will be bringing her expertise in integration, health and welfare to the home affairs portfolio.

Traditionally a delicate balance exercise, the attribution of key policy portfolios was still unclear up to a few days before the official announcement due to the formation of a new Italian government one week ago and the decision of the French government to postpone its own nomination until all other names were on the table.

By mixing up positions and portfolios, the proposed College of Commissioners prioritises policy themes rather than simply corresponding to the Commission’s directorate structure. At the same time, the designation of eight vice presidents, including three executive vice-presidents, raises questions about sufficient clarity between different roles and the team’s overall performance and efficiency in tackling urgent policy challenges.

In line with the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, all nominees will be subject to hearings by the relevant Parliamentary committees later in October before they can officially take office on 1 November.