Outgoing Slovenian leader to join Juncker’s team as commissioner

Alenka Bratušek with Angela Merkel. Berlin, July 2013. [Wikimedia]

Outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek will be interviewed by Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, his spokesperson confirmed yesterday (1 September).

Asked by EURACTIV which of the three Slovenian candidates will be interviewed, Juncker spokesperson Natasha Bertaud mentioned only Bratušek’s name.

Slovenia is the only country having proposed three names to Juncker for commissioner. Those were outgoing foreign minister Karl Erjavec and two women – PM Bratušek, as well as MEP Tanja Fajon, of the Socialists and Democrats group.

Early elections were held in Slovenia on 13 July, the surprise winner being center-left political novice Miro Cerar. His then-six-week-old SMC party won 34.8% of the vote, giving it 36 seats in the 90 seat parliament. That would provide the 50-year-old law professor the strong mandate his recent predecessors have lacked, potentially going some way towards restoring political stability after years of turbulence and weak government.

>> Read: Political novice wins Slovenia election

Bratušek, a liberal politician, still holds the post of Prime Minister in a caretaker capacity, and represented her country at the recent 30-31 August EU summit. However, the formation of the new cabinet is imminent, and she will step down soon.

As Prime Minister, Bratušek was elected as President of the Positive Slovenia party, of liberal affiliation.

On 31 May 2014, she formed her own liberal party Alliance of Alenka Bratušek. This party obtained 4 seats in the July election, including one for her.

Bratušek was criticised by her centre-right opponents for having appeared at a public event where anti-capitalist and anti-EU statements were made. A video depicts her singing “Bandiera Rossa” – one of the most famous songs of the Italian labour movement.

The 30 August summit chose Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to replace Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton later this year.

Within one week, Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to announce the full list of commissioners. 

Juncker will next present a second list outlining the different porfolios each commissioner will have. Currently member states are putting pressure on him to obtain “important” portfolios for their commissioners.

Then the European Parliament will audition the candidates. If everything goes well, the Commission would be able to take on its duties from 1 November.

  • 9 or 10 Sept. (expected): Junker to announce members and portfolios of the next Commission 
  • 1 Nov.: Mogherini to take on the role as the EU's High Representative.
  • 1 Dec.: Tusk to take on the role as Council President.

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