Phil Hogan on trade, dual-role Vestager, and a European way of life

Welcome to EURACTIV’s EU Tweets of the Week.

Phil Hogan on trade could cause post-Brexit strife, dual-role Vestager sharpens Big Tech knife, but what on earth is a European way of Life?

This week, it’s a Brexit-free Commission Special – yes I know, we spoil you!

On Tuesday Ursula von der Leyen announced the portfolio line-up for new Commissioners.

She said her “well-balanced, agile and modern Commission is led with determination, clearly focused on the issues at hand and provides answers.”

Prompting Jon Worth to ask: What were the questions?

Dave Keating had his own hot takes:
Combination of tech and competition portfolios for Margrethe Vestager will make US tech giants tremble
Italy’s new gov has been given a gift with nice econ portfolio
and the Energy Commissioner pick represents focus on energy security vis a vis Russia.

Of course he wasn’t alone.
Robert-Jan Bartunek also noted a LOT of “lobby’s name here” welcomes the appointment of Commissioner “name here” today and hopes we will “policy objective here” tweets on his feed.

My feed was also far too full of “Hot Takes” on the new Commission!
My own hot take: if anyone can do two jobs, it’s Vestager!

Javier Espinoza agrees citing a Brussels source’s reaction to the re-appointment of Vestager as competition commissioner: “Big tech will be crying in their soup tonight.”

Other popular picks included Ireland for Trade.

Berlaymonster said he looks forward to seeing Trump try to boss a handshake with
Phil Hogan!

As Bojan Pancevski noted, someone once said he is so big he can swing a pig!

Matina Stevis added “then he’ll negotiate the UK-EU trade relationship post Brexit! Hard trolling by VDL, the new boss has a sense of humour.”

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Eyebrows were raised at the decision to entrust the Hungarian commissioner-designate Laszlo Trócsányi with the neighborhood the enlargement portfolio.

https://twitter.comhttps://twitter.com/EgemoneConsult/status/1172073530080542720/JenniferMerode/status/1171367696405016576

But the most controversial proposal was Margaritis Schinas as Commissioner for Protecting the European Way of Life.

https://twitter.com/search?q=european%20way%20of%20life&src=typeahead_click&f=live

Given his brief would include defence and migration, that title sounds a little bit, um, fascist-y.

Even outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the portfolio title must change as it implies that migrants aren’t welcome.

Guy Verhofstadt said the new team of Commissioners looks competent, But he can’t understand why on earth VDL has linked migration to “protecting the European way of life”. We need strict and fair immigration rules, but this Commission should stay far away from Orban’s rhetoric! She has to rectify this ASAP.

Other prominent MEPs including Karima Delli

And Magid Magid

Added their voices to the concern.

Dave Keating however suspects that rather than a deliberate attempt to ape the anti-migration language, it was rather a cack-handed attempt to rename “defence commissioner” to something national governments wouldn’t object to.

With signature understatement, European Parliament President, David Sassoli, said “certain denominations generated disconcert. Perhaps due to hurry, original and weird names have been given to portfolios.”

He added that he had invited von der Leyen to the Conference of Presidents next week to clarify the titles of some portfolios.

The FT’s Mehreen Khan predicted R.I.P for the title, but Team VDL says “no quick decisions” will be taken.

MEP Assistants had some novel suggestions for replacement titles:
Vice President for Thanking Captain Obvious
Vice President for Vice-presiding
Vice President for all the things

But it’s not over until the fat lady – in this case the European Parliament – sings. The calendar for confirmation hearings with the incoming #EU commissioners will be two every morning, two every afternoon from 30 Sep to Oct 8 with a final plenary vote on the full College on 23 Oct in Strasbourg.

And finally, I KNOW I promised a Brexit-free zone this week, but…
As the EU was getting its own house in order

Donald Tusk reminded the UK: please don’t waste this time
The U.K.:

That’s it for this week, join us next Friday for more more thrills and spills in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.

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