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     European Commission unveils New Faces and New Portfolios  <<back  next>>




The rollcall of the new European Commission reveals that energy, environment and the economy are set to take centre stage for the 2010-14 term.

An announcement from commission president José Manuel Barroso on Friday laid out who gets what in the next college, including three new posts linked to Europe's priorities.

A new climate action post in the executive is to be filled by former Danish minister Connie Hedegaard, taking on parts of the remit of the Commission's environment directorate, though this will continue to exist.

The energy portfolio is now in German hands, as Barroso handed over the reins to Brussels newcomer Günter Oettinger.

After much discussion French commissioner-designate Michel Barnier has clinched the internal market dossier, while economic and monetary affairs passes to Olli Rehn.
'I am confident I have assigned the right jobs to the right people, Barroso is reported to have said, "There were many requests but these were my choices alone'.

Asked if he came under pressure from member states, he added, 'In such a process there is always going to be dialogue, requests and suggestions. I spoke to many of the commissioners designate and prime ministers but the decision is mine, I take full responsibility for the decision'.

Barroso's other notable appointments include Cecilia Malmström (Sweden) at the newly-created home affairs post, alongside Viviane Reding (Luxembourg) who is now charged with justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

Political leaders in the parliament have reacted happily to the news, with S&D leader Martin Schulz saying, 'It gives me satisfaction to note that we will have more vice-presidencies than any other political family. This will ensure a proper balance at the highest level of commission decision-making'.

The party will hold three of the seven vice-presidencies through Catherine Ashton (UK) as high representative, Štefan Füle (Czech Republic) at enlargement and neighbourhood policy and Maria Damanaki (Greece) at fisheries.

EPP leader Joseph Daul welcomed the announcement and the new posts, noting the process can now move towards hearings in the parliament.

Daul noted the importance of the new climate dossier and said he believed that 'the other new portfolios and reconfigurations will also give the commission a greater ability to address the concerns of all Europeans'.

The ALDE group are also content with the allocation of roles, having succeeded in getting a better gender balance amongst commissioners, and the creation of a new post specifically to address fundamental rights.

Leader Guy Verhofstadt noted, 'At the end of the day actions speak louder than words and president Barroso can be pleased that he has both high quality and an even balance of men and women amongst the Liberal colleagues in his new team'.

There are nine female members of the new college, one more than in the last framework.

It is hoped the first set of parliamentary hearings will begin on 26 January 2010. Until that time, the outgoing Commission will continue to serve, in caretaker capacity.

27 November 2009

 Last updated: 27/11/2009 17:05:00



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