The new European Commission led by President Jean-Claude Juncker, which held its first working day today (3 November,) will be more media-friendly, Commission Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas told the Brussels press.
Schinas led the first midday media briefing of the new Commission, and introduced its spokespersons to the pressroom, which was packed for the occasion.
As reported previously, the new press team is expected to be smaller in size, or at least those spokespersons allowed to speak on the record will be less.
Spokespersons are no longer attached to Commissioners, but are responsible for policy areas, covering the work of more than one Commissioner.
Thirteen will speak on the record
Margaritis Schinas is expected to personally cover the activities of the “economic cluster”.
His deputy spokesperson will be Mina Andreeva, the former spokesperson to Vice President Viviane Reding, will replace Schinas at the podium, but will also cover digital single market, employment, social affairs, justice and gender equality.
Natacha Berthaud will cover migration, home affairs, better regulation, rule of law, Charter of fundamental rights.
Jakub Adamovizcz, a former journalist from Luxembourg, will cover budget, human resources, transport and regional policies.
Enrico Brivio, an ex-journalist from Italy, will cover the issues of COREPER I, environment, maritime affairs, fisheries, health and food safety.
Ricardo Cardoso will cover competition.
Lucia Caudet will cover internal market, industry, entrepreneurship, SMEs, research, science, education, innovation, culture and sports.
Ana-Kaisa Itkonen will cover climate action and energy.
Daniel Rosario, a former journalist from Portugal, will cover trade and agriculture.
Anika Breidhardt, who will start from 1 December, will help Schinas covering EMU and Eurozone issues.
Catherine Ray will be the lead spokesperson for the European External Action service, dividing her job with Maja Kocijancic, the second being responsible for Europe and the first of “the rest of the world”, as Schinas put it, including Development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
Finally, Vanessa Mock, a former journalist from Germany, will cover financial affairs, taxation, customs, financial services and capital market union.
All spokespersons will be present at the midday briefing, ready to answer all questions, Schinas said. He dismissed rumours that the spokespersons would take questions only if they are notified in advance in writing.
Asked by EURACTIV if the Commissioners and Juncker would be more often present in the press room, Schinas said that indeed, that was the plan.
“The answer is yes and yes. We will strive to have more and more commissioners coming in person to this pressroom and I’m confident that on Wednesday [where the College meets] I will have either President Juncker or First Vice President Timmermans”, Schinas said.
He later added that the members of the Commission would meet the press not only to deliver the good news on achievements, but also when problems arise.
Asked who reporters should contact in case they want to interview a commissioner – the spokesperson responsible for the respective policy areas, or the press officer in the commissioner cabinet – Schinas said that both options were OK.
For the time being, the Commission hasn’t published the cabinet members of the various Commissioners on its website.