Polish officials land top jobs in new Commission

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At least twelve Polish nationals will feature among the staff of new commissioners and the office of new EU President Herman Van Rompuy, the Polish press reported yesterday (9 February).

"I'm very happy," Polish European Affairs Minister Miko?aj Dowgielewicz told the PAP news agency in Strasbourg.

"Five years ago, when the previous Commission started working, there weren't any Poles in any of the cabinets," he said, with the exception of former Polish Commissioner Danuta Hübner's staff.

"Now, Poland has Polish people in key places, like an old EU player," Dowgielewicz added.

According to PAP, Agnieszka Skuratowicz will continue to work with Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a European Commission vice-president.

Other Polish nationals will work for Štefan Füle (Czech; commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy), Günther Oettinger (German; energy commissioner), Joaquín Almunia (Spain; competition commissioner) and Viviane Reding (Luxembourg; commissioner for justice and civil liberties).

With 38 million inhabitants, Poland has the sixth-largest population in the European Union and the largest population among the twelve countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.

A few more names have already started circulating in the Polish press. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, Hanna Jahns, Polish Secretary of State in the Ministry of Regional Development, will join Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn (Austria).

Andrzej Dycha from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will work with Romania's Dacian Ciolo?, the new commissioner for agriculture.

?ukasz Koli?ski, who worked for outgoing Polish Commissioner Pawe? Samecki, is expected to join Denmark's commissioner Connie Hedegaard in her new portfolio for climate action.

Three Poles will also work in the office of Polish Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, responsible for budget and financial programming. Lewandowski's 'chef de cabinet' will be Luxembourg national Marc Lemaitre, head of cabinet for previous Polish Commissioners Pawe? Samecki and Danuta Hübner.

Magdalena Canowiecka will join the team of Herman Van Rompuy, the new president of the European Council.

Most of these Poles were already in Brussels working for the EU institutions or the Polish Representation to the EU. The exceptions, Jahns and Dycha, came from ministries in Warsaw, PAP reported.

As EURACTIV revealed two weeks ago, an internal note distributed by the services of Commission President José Manuel Barroso underlined that many cabinets were too nationally-oriented, with an all-too-evident predominance of officials of the same nationality as their commissioners (EURACTIV 21/01/10).

Based on candidacies submitted by each country, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in November distributed portfolios within his new team, which consists of 27 commissioners, one for each member state (EURACTIV 27/11/09).

The new European Commission took office on Wednesday (10 February), after winning the European Parliament's approval the day before (EURACTIV 09/02/10).

'Cabinets' are political bodies made up of the commissioners' closest advisors. Each commissioner can only have six people in his/her cabinet, plus the secretariat, assistants and drivers. Commissioners can appoint a maximum of three nationals from their own country to their cabinet (see EURACTIV LinksDossier).

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