Will they step down? Five Commissioners elected as MEPs

First Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, Frans Timmermans, prepares to cast his vote at the polling station in Heerlen, The Netherlands, 23 May 2019. [Marcel Van Hoorn/EPA/EFE]

Five members of the Juncker Commission have been elected as MEPs, the EU executive confirmed on Tuesday (28 May). What remains to be seen is whether they will take their seats in the European Parliament or stay on as Commissioners.

The Commission’s First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, Vice Presidents Andrus Ansip and Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioners Corina Creţu and Mariya Gabriel have been elected to the EU Parliament.

So far, Bulgaria’s Gabriel has made it clear that she will take her MEP seat but leave the Parliament when she is eventually nominated as Commissioner in the next EU executive.

Creţu, who was elected from the Pro-Romania party of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta, will probably take and keep her MEP seat, as it is unlikely that she will receive a better offer.

As the European Socialists’ lead candidate for the Commission president, Timmermans may decide to keep his present position. Even if he doesn’t get the Commission top job, there is a strong chance that he will be his country’s Commissioner, even the next Vice President/High Representative for foreign policy.

If Estonia’s Andrus Ansip decides to take his MEP seat, it could create a staffing problem because both he and Gabriel are responsible for the digital portfolio. Normally the Commissioners who are elected as MEPs do not need to be replaced because their remaining time in office, before the next executive takes over, is usually short.

The portfolio of Latvia’s Dombrovskis, vice president for the euro, could be easily be covered by Pierre Moscovici, who is responsible for economic and financial affairs.

EURACTIV asked the Commission about the contingency plans and received assurances that they would be made public once the Commissioners decide what their own plans are.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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