Structural changes and an uncertain line-up
After the summer break the new German President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen has officially presented her new team on 10 September. Apart from new structural changes within the College of Commissioners, von der Leyen pointed to the EU’s importance with regard to the leadership of a digital world, of a healthy planet as well as of an international responsibility.
Besides the new top management an unprecedented Commission structure has been introduced: the number of Vice-Presidents will increase to eight including the Spanish High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and three Executive Vice-Presidents who will be responsible for one of the three core topics of the scheduled agenda and thus fulfil a double function within their role as Commissioners. The Executive Vice-Presidents are the Dutch Social Democrat Frans Timmermans, the Danish Liberal Margrethe Vestager and the Latvian Conservative Valdis Dombrovskis. Timmermans will be responsible for the climate action policy, Vestager will devote herself to Europe’s digital agenda and will lead the Directorate-General for Competition and Dombrovskis will assume the responsibility for Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union.
The remaining four Vice-Presidents are the Liberal Věra Jurová (Czech Republic) in the department of Values and Transparency, the Conservative Margaritis Schinas (Greece) in the department of Protecting our European Way of Life, the Social Democrat Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia) in the department of Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight and the Conservative Dubravka Šuica (Croatia) in the department of Democracy and Demography. Furthermore the Austrian Conservative Johannes Hahn will be the Commissioner responsible for the department of Budget and Administration and will report directly to the Commission President.
Due to the UK’s uncertain withdrawal date from the EU and accusations of malpractice and criticism against several Commissioners, it remains to be seen if there will be changes after the hearing of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament