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A team for Europe: von der Leyen introduces its preferred commission

2019-09-10T16:02:45.585Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Brussels (dpa) - The future EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to implement their key political projects with the help of three experienced politicians from the team of their predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker.

As announced by the Leyen in Brussels, the Dutch Social Democrat Frans Timmermans, as "executive vice-president", is to take care of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world.

At the same level, the Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager will be responsible for equipping the EU for the digital age. The Christian Democrat Valdis Dombrovskis from Latvia is to guarantee the protection of the social market economy as also an executive vice-president.

"I want a commission that is led with determination, which focuses on the acute problems and provides answers," said the CDU politician from the Leyen at the presentation of their team. It is about courageously tackling climate change. In addition, for example, the benefits of artificial intelligence would have to be optimally utilized.

In total, the next commission, including Leyen, will have 27 members, of whom 13 are women and 14 are men. Great Britain has not nominated a candidate because of the planned withdrawal from the EU. The EU Commission, which has more than 30,000 employees, proposes laws for the international community and monitors compliance with EU law. She was led by the Luxembourg Juncker for the past five years.

The new College of Commissioners is scheduled to start work on 1 November. Before that, the designated Commissioners must still be heard by the relevant committees of the European Parliament. Individuals could still be exchanged before the plenary finally votes on the entire staff package.

Wackel candidates are, for example, the designated Polish Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski as well as intended for the transport department Romanian Rovana Plumb. Wojciechowski is under investigation by the EU Anti-Fraud Office, Olaf, for possible irregularities in travel expenses during his time in the European Parliament. Against Plumb is determined in their homeland because of the allegation of abuse of office.

Many other candidates, such as the Austrian Johannes Hahn (budget and administration), the Irishman Phil Hogan (trade) and the former Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who is earmarked for the classic economic portfolio, are considered to be set.

From the parliament came on Tuesday mixed reactions. German Green Party leader Ska Keller welcomed the balanced gender distribution, but criticized, for example, the proposal for a ministry to "protect the European way of life" while being responsible for migration and border management. "We hope that Ursula von der Leyen sees no contradiction between the support of refugees and European values," said Keller, looking at the portfolio of the Greek candidate Margaritis Schinas.

There was also criticism of Leyens decision to accept the Hungarian Laszlo Trocsanyi as a candidate. Trocsanyi had enforced discriminatory laws against non-governmental organizations in his time as Minister of Justice, said the SPD group chairman Jens Geier. Left-wing leader Martin Schirdewan spoke of a commission "with quota but without vision" and criticized "the continuation of an insufficient investment and persistent austerity policy".

The chairman of the Christian Democratic Group of the EPP, Manfred Weber, said confidently. "In the hearings in the committees of the European Parliament, the EPP Group will examine the competencies and capabilities of the candidates without prejudice," said the CSU politician. "All candidates get a fair chance."

In addition to the planned distribution of tasks, the former German Defense Minister von der Leyen also announced the establishment of a Directorate General for Defense Industry and Space. The new department will fall under the jurisdiction of designated EU Internal Market Commissioner Sylvie Goulard from France.

The establishment of a Directorate-General for Defense Industries and Space is a sign that Leyen wants to continue to pursue its plans for a truly European Defense Union. The project was launched in December 2017.

The appointment of Timmermans and Vestager as powerful "Executive Vice Presidents" is also a concession to Parliament. Timmermans and Vestager had themselves applied to the European Commission for the top of the European Commission. Instead, the EU heads of state and government had surprisingly nominated the Christian Democrat of the Leyen as president. In her quest for a majority in the European Parliament, von der Leyen had promised the top candidates of the two other major political groups a prominent role as vice-presidents "at eye level".

Timmermans has served as First Vice-President of the Juncker Commission since 2014 and is responsible for sustainability and the rule of law. Vestager had distinguished himself in the Juncker Commission as a competitive guardian - for this task she should remain responsible.

Communication from the Commission

Source: zeit

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