Juncker tries to block the replacement of Cretu, Ansip

Corina Creţu, European Commissioner in charge of Regional Policy. [European Commission]

Romania and Estonia have requested the replacement of their commissioners who were elected as MEPs and have taken their seats. To avoid such a replacement, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has put forward a legislative proposal, EURACTIV has learned.

As the Romania press reported, the government of Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă has asked to replace Crețu, who has served as Commissioner for Regional Policy, with Ioan-Mircea Paşcu, a politician from the ruling social-democrat party, who has served as MEP and as a defence minister. Crețu was elected as MEP for the Pro Romania party of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Similarly, Estonia has requested the replacement of Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, who also took his MEP seat, with Kadri Simson, a politician from the Centre party of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

In the meantime, Juncker stated in an interview with Bild am Sonntag from 2 June that those outgoing Commissioners who have been elected and accept to become MEPs should not be replaced for the remaining 4 months of their mandate as this would entail significant costs.

In addition, the Juncker Commission takes the view that several of its members are involved in all files, and as a result, the Commissioners are well placed and fully capable of stepping in for departing colleagues.

A Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV that Juncker had informed leaders at the European Council on 28 May about his intention not to replace Commissioners. He also reportedly discussed the matter with the leaders concerned and then sent a letter (on 13 June) in which he also officially informed the President of the Council of the EU (Ms Viorica Dăncilă) about this – in line with the procedure set out in Article 246 TFEU.

“In line with Article 246(3) TFEU, the President put forward, the necessary legislative proposal, on 19 June, for the Council to decide that the vacancies do not need to be filled for the remainder of this Commission’s mandate. It is now for the Council to take the matter forward” the Commission spokesperson said.

The move, if it succeeds, is likely to be another setback for the Romanian social democrat government, which is under fire for attempts to roll back progress in judicial reforms achieved in previous years.

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