Commissioners assemble: Class of 2019-2024

Ursula von der Leyen has built her team. [Photo: European Commission]

European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has unveiled who will do what job in her administration, insisting hers will be a “geopolitical Commission”. Stay tuned here for all the details.

UPDATE: Dates for Commissioner hearings have now been released

Confirmed nominees will be grilled by Parliamentary committees starting in late September and then face a confirmation vote by MEPs in October.

Von der Leyen’s Commission will have three executive vice-presidents in the form of Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrokvskis. They will also serve as regular Commissioners, not just coordinators.

There will also be five other vice-presidents: Josep Borrell, Věra Jourová, Margaritis Schinas, Maroš Šefčovič and Dubravka Šuica.

Parliamentary hearings will begin on 30 September, with the three executive VPs concluding proceedings on 8 October. Full dates below.

A vote on the entire Commission will be held on 23 October. If any candidates are rejected, time has already been allotted for more hearings before that date.

Johannes Hahn (EPP)

Portfolio: Budget and Administration

The current EU enlargement chief was nominated for another spell in Brussels, after first arriving at the Berlaymont HQ in 2010 as regional policy Commissioner. He will report directly to von der Leyen and will be her lieutenant in making sure the Commission is gender-balanced and fully digital.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, BUDG/CONT (juri)

📤 Mission letter from von der Leyen

Didier Reynders (Renew)

Portfolio: Justice

Reynders will take on the rule of law job. Belgium’s foreign minister was in the running to be Commissioner under Jean-Claude Juncker but was ultimately unsuccessful, as the outgoing Commission chief wanted a female candidate, a wish ultimately fulfilled by Marianne Thyssen. Since his announcement as justice chief, Belgian media reported he is now the subject of a corruption probe by public prosecutors. If he weathers questioning by MEPs, his main tasks will be to lead work on a comprehensive European Rule of Law Mechanism and getting the new European Public Prosecutors Office up and running.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, LIBE/JURI (imco)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Mariya Gabriel (EPP)

Portfolio: Innovation and Youth

Juncker’s digital chief took over from Kristalina Georgieva, who left her post as vice-president in 2016, and has since done enough in the job to convince Prime Minister Boyko Borissov that she is deserving of another shot. Her new duties will include boosting the Erasmus student exchange programme and concluding work on the Horizon Europe agreement.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 30 September, ITRE/CULT

📤 Mission letter

Dubravka Šuica (EPP)

Portfolio: Vice-President Democracy and Demography

MEP Šuica, now in her second European Parliament mandate,  is a former mayor of Dubrovnik and a vice-president of the EPP. She will be in charge of the Commission’s Conference on the Future of Europe programme and will be Croatia’s first VP since it joined the bloc in 2013.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, AFCO (empl)

📤 Mission letter

Stella Kyriakides (EPP)

Portfolio: Health

Currently a lawmaker, Kyriakides also served as the president of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. Von der Leyen has tasked the Cypriot with ensuring there are affordable medicines and setting up a “European Health Data Space”. She will also contribute to efforts against food fraud.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, ENVI (agri)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Věra Jourová (Renew)

Portfolio: Vice-President Values and Transparency

Juncker’s current justice chief will be promoted to a vice-president but will not be responsible for rule of law, as previously speculated. Instead, she will help repair bridges between the EU Council and Parliament by looking into transnational lists and shoring up the Spitzenkandidat system. Jourová will also work on media pluralism and the EU’s accession to the charter of human rights.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 7 October, AFCO/LIBE (juri)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Margrethe Vestager (Renew)

Portfolio: Executive Vice-President Europe Fit For the Digital Age & Competition

After coming up short in her bid to be Juncker’s successor, Vestager takes on a senior vice-presidency position in von der Leyen’s administration. Currently the bloc’s antitrust boss, the Dane will stick with her current responsibilities and take on new digital-focused duties. That includes working on a new AI strategy, industrial plan and SME plan, as well as a new digital tax. Vestager will also review competition rules, which were heavily criticised by Berlin and Paris following the Alstom-Siemens case.

Cabinet chat: Denmark’s EU Ambassador, Kim Jørgensen, will head Vestager’s team. A career diplomat, the 57-year-old has been in Brussels since 2014. The post of cabinet head was previously filled by Ditte Juul-Jørgensen, who moved on to head the Commission’s energy directorate in the summer. 

Parliament hearing date / committee: 8 October, ITRE/IMCO/ECON (juri)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

 

Kadri Simson (Renew)

Portfolio: Energy

Initially meant to take over as interim Commissioner after Andrus Ansip took his MEP seat, Estonia’s government decided on 9 September not to insist on having a representative in Juncker’s outgoing executive. She will instead use the time to prepare for her duties under von der Leyen: the energy portfolio. Her brief includes expected tasks like boosting renewables and energy efficiency measures, as well as contributing to carbon border tax design and the review of the taxation directive.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, ITRE (envi)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

 

Jutta Urpilainen (S&D)

Portfolio: International Partnerships

Her nomination quashed any rumours that failed Commission president candidate Alexander Stubb could be parachuted in as Finland’s pick. Urpilainen, a former finance minister, has also worked as a special envoy in Ethiopia. Regarding speculation there would be an Africa Commissioner, Von der Leyen said that such a job could be discriminatory. Her new duties will include working on a comprehensive strategy for Africa though.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, DEVE

📤 Mission letter

Sylvie Goulard (Renew)

Portfolio: Internal Market (also defence and space)

A former MEP, Goulard had a brief stint as defence minister before resigning over a parliamentary assistants scandal. She is sure to have former colleagues still in the Parliament who will want to bring up the issue when she faces a confirmation hearing. However, EURACTIV understands that the EU assembly considers the case closed for its part. She will oversee the Commission’s new Directorate-General for defence and co-lead work on the bloc’s new industrial policy.

Cabinet chat: French economist Stephanie Riso, an adviser to Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, will head Goulard’s cabinet.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, IMCO/ITRE (juri/cult)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

 

Ursula von der Leyen (EPP)

After securing a narrow majority from the European Parliament to lead the Commission for the next five years, von der Leyen is the institution’s first female president.

Background here

 

Margaritis Schinas (EPP)

Portfolio: Vice-President Protecting Our European Way of Life

A mainstay of the Commission press room thanks to his role as chief spokesperson, Schinas makes the leap to vice-president. His duties will include migration affairs. The Greek’s job title has provoked controversy though, with many critics accusing von der Leyen of co-opting the language of the far-right. MEPs have written to her calling for a change of wording, although EPP chief Manfred Weber has lent his full support to the current name.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, LIBE/CULT (empl)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

László Trócsányi (EPP – suspended)

Portfolio: Neighbourhood and Enlargement 

A former justice minister and current MEP, Trócsányi will certainly face a grilling by MEPs, given Viktor Orbán’s slide on rule of law issues. If given the nod he will oversee existing accession talks with candidate countries and forward the Commission’s position that negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania should be opened.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, AFET

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Phil Hogan (EPP)

Portfolio: Trade

The bloc’s agriculture tsar is staying in Brussels as trade chief, where he will aim to conclude ongoing talks, reform the WTO and help set up a carbon border tax. Depending on the final conclusion of the Brexit saga, he will have to devote time to negotiations on the future partnership between the two parties.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 30 September, INTA

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Paolo Gentiloni (S&D)

Portfolio: Economy

Former PM Paolo Gentiloni was the last name proposed by a national government after political turmoil in Rome delayed the announcement. His main tasks will include monitoring implementation of the stability and growth pact and collaborating on a number of fiscal measures like the carbon border tax and energy taxation review. 

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, ECON (budg/empl)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Valdis Dombrovskis (EPP)

Portfolio: Executive Vice-President for an Economy That Works For People & Financial Services

Vice-president for the euro Dombrovskis is also one of the cadre of returning Commissioners. He makes the leap up to executive VP; highlights of his new duties include integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into the European Semester and implementing the Pillar of Social Rights. The Latvian will also be the main link between the Commission and European Investment Bank, which aims to target half of its financing towards climate investments by 2025.

Cabinet chat: Euractiv understands that no decision has been made yet.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 8 October, ECON/EMPL (budg)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Virginijus Sinkevičius (Greens/EFA TBC)

Portfolio: Environment and Oceans

Lithuania’s 28-year-old economy minister is on course to be the youngest Commissioner ever to take office as well as only the second green representative. Hailing from the Farmers and Greens Party, which is not actually affiliated to its European equivalent, Sinkevičius has faced criticism from his own party colleagues over his lack of experience and is known for keeping a ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap on his desk. As successor to Malta’s Karmenu Vella, he will draft a Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and a new circular economy plan.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 3 October, PECH/ENVI

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background 

Nicolas Schmit (S&D)

Portfolio: Jobs

His nomination was settled by a government deal reached after 2018’s general elections and demonstrates how seriously the Grand Duchy takes its Commissioner appointments. He is tasked with making good on von der Leyen’s pledge to make sure all EU citizens have access to a fair minimum wage.

Cabinet chat: Luxembourger Antoine Kassel makes the leap from Juncker’s cabinet, where he served as legal and budgetary adviser, to Schmit’s team leader.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, EMPL (econ)

📤 Mission letter

Helena Dalli (S&D)

Portfolio: Equality

A former minister for EU affairs and equality, Dalli is tasked with a new portfolio and proposing a European Gender Strategy.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, FEMM/EMPL (libe)

📤 Mission letter

Frans Timmermans (S&D)

Portfolio: Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal & Climate Action

Another also-ran for the Commission top job, Timmermans was promised a senior vice-presidency role, similar to his current job. He will wear two hats, overseeing all Commissioners responsible for Green Deal issues, as well as serving as climate Commissioner. He is expected to propose a new climate law within the first 100 days of the Commission, including the pending net-zero 2050 emissions target.

Cabinet chat: Former Dutch Labour Party leader Diederik Samsom will head up Timmermans’ staff. A former journalist and Greenpeace activist, Samson will be the point-man on the Green Deal work.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 8 October, ENVI (itre/tran)

📤 Mission letter

📝 Background

Janusz Wojciechowski (ECR)

Portfolio: Agriculture

Krzysztof Szczerski (ECR), the head of President Andrej Duda’s cabinet, withdrew his name from consideration on 26 August, revealing that he was set to be offered the agriculture portfolio, a sector in which he has little experience. The government confirmed former MEP Janusz Wojciechowski as their new pick on the same day. The weekend ahead of the final Commissioner list confirmation, it was revealed that he is now the subject of an inquest by anti-corruption authority OLAF. Concluding talks on CAP reform would be his main task.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, AGRI (envi)

📤 Mission letter

 

Elisa Ferreira (S&D)

Portfolio: Cohesion and Reforms

Respecting von der Leyen’s request for one male and one female name, Prime Minister Antonio Costa initially proposed current MEP Pedro Marques and former MEP Elisa Ferreira to take over from Carlos Moedas. Costa confirmed on 27 August that Ferreira is Portugal’s sole pick. She will be charged with designing and proposing a new Just Transition Fund to help poorer regions adapt to the energy transition.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, REGI (budg/econ)

📤 Mission letter

Rovana Plumb (S&D)

Portfolio: Transport

Bucharest put forward two names initially, Plumb and Dan Nica, in keeping with von der Leyen’s request. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis told the press that he had only been consulted on the nominees and warned that they risk being struck down by the Parliament. She will take over the transport portfolio from Violeta Bulc, focusing on smart mobility and rolling out the ETS to maritime and aviation.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, TRAN (envi)

📤 Mission letter

 

Maroš Šefčovič (S&D)

Portfolio: Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

The Slovak official is staying in Brussels for yet another spell as Commissioner, in the wake of unsuccessful attempts at the Commission and Slovak presidency. Currently a vice-president overseeing the Energy Union, Šefčovič will remain a VP and take on duties he is familiar with from his first stint in Brussels. His passion project, the European battery alliance, will remain under his oversight.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 30 September, AFCO/JURI (peti/itre)

📤 Mission letter

Janez Lenarčič (Renew)

Portfolio: Crisis Management

Lenarčič, a career diplomat, was unaffiliated but EURACTIV understands he will join the liberal Renew Europe group. He will coordinate work improving the EU’s response to natural disasters and emergencies, set to become more important as climate change has a more noticeable impact on the continent.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 2 October, DEVE (envi)

📤 Mission letter

 

Ylva Johansson (S&D)

Portfolio: Home Affairs

Employment Minister Johansson is “someone to get the job done”, according to von der Leyen. She will take over some duties from current Greek Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. Her main task will be to relaunch asylum reform efforts and make sure there are legal migration routes to the EU. Johansson’s services will also tackle terrorist content online and radicalisation.

Cabinet chat: Sweden’s former deputy perm-rep, Åsa Webber, will head up Johansson’s team.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 1 October, LIBE

📤 Mission letter

Josep Borrell (S&D)

Portfolio: High-Representative

Borrell landed the bloc’s high representative job as part of the Council’s protracted top job talks. His nomination is not free of controversy though, given his previous diplomatic blunders, the Catalan issue and his age, and he is sure to endure a rough ride during his Parliamentary hearing. His position as high-rep is assured after the Council gave their blessing but his appointment as a Commission VP is not guaranteed yet.

Parliament hearing date / committee: 7 October, AFET

📥 Letter from von der Leyen to Donald Tusk on appointment

📤 Mission letter

 

None – New Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK will leave the EU at midnight on 31 October means that there is no name on the table, despite the previous assumption that unaffiliated diplomat Julian King would continue in his security union position if the UK is granted another extension to the Brexit deadline. On 22 August, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Tim Barrow has written to the EU to confirm that the UK will not be nominating a candidate for the 2019-2024 College of Commissioners. Von der Leyen acknowledged that the UK will need a portfolio if an extension is granted.

Background here

 

Secretary-General of the Commission – Following the departure of Martin Selmayr, the EU executive will need a new senior civil servant and will be keen to avoid the scandal that accompanied Selmayr’s time in office. The seat is currently being kept warm by Latvia’s Ilze Juhansone, who may be appointed on a more permanent basis. 

Twitter info – A full list of the Commissioner-delegates that use Twitter can be accessed here. Feel free to subscribe

Full list of Commissioner bios – including ages, previous experience and political affiliation here.

 

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