The two largest parties in the European Parliament have today (10 October) backed Socialist MEP Tanja Fajon to replace Alenka Bratušek as Slovenia’s Commissioner in the new Juncker Commission.
Bratušek was chosen by the Commission President-elect to be Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union. But she was forced to resign after MEPs overwhelmingly rejected her candidacy last night (8 October).
According to a tweet from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, Fajon has already secured the backing of the Slovenian centre-left government.
In contrast, Bratušek never had the support of her country. The former prime minister, ostensibly a liberal, appointed herself as Slovenia’s next Commissioner before promptly losing the national election, as was expected.
— S&D Group (@TheProgressives) October 9, 2014
Fajon’s chances will be bolstered because she is a woman. The biggest political parties in the European Parliament have repeatedly warned they will vote down Juncker’s team if it& has less than nine women. Without Bratušek, there are only eight.
After Juncker confirmed Bratušek& had quit, the two biggest political parties in the parliament, the S&D and the majority European’s People’s Party (EPP), came out to support Fajon.
The Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, said in a statement that Fajon was already one of the candidates presented by the Slovenian government last summer. She perfectly fits the bill to become Slovenia’s Commissioner, he said.
Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of the European Socialists (PES) said Fajon has the experience, skills and energy to be the right candidate. “Tanja has my support and that of the PES Presidency,” he said.
Fajon, a former journalist, was elected for the first time to the European Parliament in 2009. She sits in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
Juncker team reshuffle
Following Bratušek’s rejection, Juncker will most likely be forced to reshuffle his team, Parliament sources told EutAcitv.
Commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsis, who is currently responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship, could get the Transport and Space portfolio. Indeed, centre-left only MEPs agreed to keep Navracsis if he is moved to another policy area.
With Bratušek out, the Energy Union Vice-Presidency could be offered to the Slovak nominee Maroš Šef?ovi?, who was initially chosen by Juncker as his Transport and Space Commissioner.
Finally, if Fajon is to replace Bratušek, she could take the Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship portfolio from Navracsis.