Commission completes internal reshuffle

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The European Commission yesterday (2 June) decided to split its justice, freedom and security department in two, creating new directorates-general (DGs) for home affairs and justice and moving around several top officials.

DG Justice will deal with civil and criminal justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, while DG Home Affairs will be responsible for immigration and asylum policy, migration and border security, the Commission announced.

Previously, all these issues were dealt with by the directorate-general for justice, freedom and security (DG JLS), lead by Britain's Jonathan Faull. 

Yesterday's changes ensure that there is a clear distinction between departments working for the EU's new justice and fundamental rights commissioner, Viviane Reding, and Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, whose portfolio was also created for the new Commission.

They also reflect the division of responsibility in most national governments, where internal affairs and justice are often dealt with by separate ministries.

New directors-general appointed

At the same time, the EU executive, acting on the recommendation of Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice-President Maroš Šef?ovi?, shifted several director-generals from one department to another in line with its mobility policy.

The moves, which represent the second major reshuffle at the EU executive since the Barroso II Commission took office, were motivated by rules on the rotation of senior staff (see 'Background').

The first saw the environmental portfolio, held in Barroso I by Stavros Dimas, split into two separate directorates – climate action and environment – for Barroso II. DG Climate Action was established to deal with climate change, while DG Environment is responsible for waste, water, air quality, biodiversity and nature protection policy.

Faull, who headed DG JLS during the first Barroso Commission, is to become director-general of DG Internal Market (MARKT), reporting to Commissioner Michel Barnier.

His move was announced in November to address then-UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's concerns that having a Frenchman in charge of regulating financial services would prove detrimental to the interests of the City of London.

Faull, whose move to DG MARKT was made possible by the departure of fellow Brit David Wright for the University of Oxford, replaces Swede Jörgen Holmquist, who is leaving to take up a post at Harvard University.

Stefano Manservisi, currently director of DG Development, will lead the newly-created DG Home Affairs. Manservisi's appointment ensures that an Italian will be in charge of migration and immigration, an issue of key importance to Rome.

Fokion Fotiadis, whose position as head of DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE) became untenable after the appointment of fellow Greek Maria Damanaki as commissioner, replaces Manservisi at DG Development.

He is replaced at DG MARE by Lowri Evans, who was promoted from her position as deputy director-general of DG Competition.

Other promotions saw Françoise Le Bail and Robert-Jan Smits, deputy directors-general at DG Enterprise and DG Joint Research Centre, move to new positions in charge of DG Justice and DG Research respectively.

Most commissioner seats and directorships changed hands at the end of the Barroso I Commission (see EURACTIV LinksDossier on 'Musical chairs: Officials take turns at the European Commission').

The changes announced yesterday will come into effect on 1 July. 

Background

Directors-general at the European Commission cannot hold their position for more than five years, but derogations up to a maximum of seven years can be applied in exceptional circumstances.

The director-general of a Commission department cannot hail from the same country as the commissioner responsible for the same policy portfolio. 

Appointments are also dictated by a desire to achieve a satisfactory geographical and gender balance in the Commission's top positions.

The EU executive considers it a "desirable objective" that each member state should hold at least one director-general or equivalent position. 

Timeline

  • 1 July: Changes to come into effect. 

Further Reading

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