The European Parliament has approved on 22 October the new college of Commissioners by 423 votes in favour, 209 against, and 67 abstained. The new team can now officially take office on 1 November.
The European Parliament interviewed 28 Commissioners-designate between 29 September and 20 October. Throughout the approval process, President Juncker made a few changes to the structure of his team:
- Following the rejection of Alenka Bratušek, the Slovenian candidate responsible for the Energy Union, the Slovenian government nominated Violeta Bulc to replace her.
- MEPs have also rejected the nomination of the Hungarian Commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsics responsible for Education, Culture, Youth, and Citizenship due to his close ties with the current Hungarian government. Over the last year, the EU had a strained relationship with Hungary after it adopted anti-democratic laws undermining media plurality or the independence of the judiciary. Finally, the MEPs have agreed that Navracsics is fit for a Commissioner’s job, but Citizenship was taken out of his portfolio and given to to Dimitris Avramopoulos in charge of Migration and Home Affairs.
- The French nominee Pierre Moscovici, the UK’s Jonathan Hill and Spain’s Miguel Arias Canete have also been grilled by MEPs who doubted their suitability for their designated posts – economic affairs, financial services and climate and environment, respectively. They have all been approved after the biggest political groups in the European Parliament have struck a deal.
- A last minute reshuffle has made Bulc Transport Commissioner, and her initial Energy Union portfolio was transferred to Slovakia’s Maroš Šef?ovi?.
- President Juncker has also decided before the approval vote in the Parliament to leave the pharmaceuticals drugs and medical technology under the department of health (DG Sanco).
An overview of the EURACTIV coverage of the hearings through the Storify live blog could be found below.