European Commission President-designate Ursula von der Leyen has unveiled the portfolios of her team, underlining her top priorities for the EU executive for the next 5 years. The European Parliament will begin hearings on the commissioners and their portfolios at the end of September.
Von der Leyen’s dream team highlights an ambitious programme for the future EU:
1. The Green New Deal. Frans Timmermans (Netherlands) has been given the title of Executive Vice President and the daunting task steering EU policies toward the achievement of a climate neutral EU by 2050.
2. All things digital. Margrethe Vestager (Denmark), also named an EVP, remains the Commissioner for Competition. She was also asked to coordinate all policies geared to making Europe fit for the Digital Age.
3. “An Economy that Works for People.” Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia) was named Commissioner for Financial Services as well as to coordinate work on an “Economy that Works for People” – a nod to the thousands who have taken to the streets, especially in France, to protest higher taxes related to the greening of Europe.
4. “The European Way of Life.” This controversial portfolio name was given to Vice President-designate Margaritis Schinas (Greece), whose remit would include migration, security, youth and jobs. Von der Leyen said the name is a way of stealing thunder from populists, but some critics say the title itself is populist.
5. Common market. France’s Sylvie Goulard was appointed Internal Market Commissioner to deepen and enforce the rules governing inter-state trade within the Union, but also industrial policy.
6. Trade. The appointment of Phil Hogan (Ireland) as Trade Commissioner, is reassuring to the Irish, who know that he will defend the interests of both the EU and Ireland in any future trade deal with the United Kingdom if it leaves the EU.
7. Health. The nomination of Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus) as Health Commissioner bodes well for the health care sector. She is a medical psychologist by training and has years of experience in health, the fight against cancer and social affairs.
8. Mobility. Transport Commissioner-designate Rovana Plumb (Romania) has been charged with ensuring “that we have a transport sector fit for a clean, digital and modern economy”.
9. Equality. The incoming Commission has a historic, near-perfect gender balance, with 13 women and 14 men.
A new Commission, indeed, and a programme underlining the need for all policy affected to stay close with the new players – there is much to do and even more to achieve!