Although president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker is still interviewing candidates for Commissioners, EurActiv has seen a draft organigram prepared by his services and dated 2 September, in which every single commissioner is assigned a portfolio.
The document is clearly not a final version and subject to change.
Juncker is currently wrapping up a series of face-to face interviews with the 27 Commissioners-designate and is expected to announce his line up early next week.
But the document speaks for itself and is full of surprises:
• the internal market portfolio, currently held by Michel Barnier, has disappeared;
• the Digital Agenda portfolio, currently held by Neelie Kroes, is replaced by a Vice President position for digital and innovation and a Commissioner for ‘internet and culture’;
• there is no commissioner for enlargement;
• a new post of Vice President for ‘better regulation’ has appeared;
• a new post for Vice President for Energy Union has appeared (in addition to the commissioner for energy/climate);
• a Vice President for Growth, Economic and Monetary Union, European Semester & Social Dialogue has appeared;
There are six Vice Presidents in the proposed Commission:
• Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska (EPP), with Budget and Financial Control as assignment,
• Estonia’s Andrus Ansip (ALDE) for Growth, EMU, European Semester and Social Dialogue,
• Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovkis (EPP) for Energy Union,
• Slovenia’s Alenka Bratusek for Digital and Innovation,
• the Netherlands Frans Timmermans for Better Regulation and as already decided by EU leaders,
• Italy’s Federica Mogherini (S&D) as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
In terms of political balance, the liberal ALDE family is not underrepresented as initially thought. To the contrary, it has five portfolios, including two Vice Presidents.
Overall, the new Commission appears quite balanced politically. The centre-right EPP group has twelve portfolios, including two Vice Presidents. The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) have eight portfolios, including two Vice Presidents.
Bad news for UK, France
The new post of Vice President for ‘Better Regulation’, assigned to the Netherlands, should please UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who has led a campaign for less red tape and regulation in EU policy-making.
It is less likely however that the British Premier will like the portfolio assigned to the UK commissioner Jonathan Hill (ECR), on Energy and Climate Change. Cameron had asked for a super-commissioner, but in fact Hill is likely to be under the umbrella of Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice President for Energy Union.
The same could be said regarding France’s Pierre Moscovici, who gets the Competition portfolio. Paris has sought the economic affairs portfolio, which according to the draft, will go to Finland’s Jyrki Katainen who already holds this portfolio he inherited from Olli Rehn.
There is no post for internal market commissioner on the leaked document.
Michel Barnier’s DG was one of the most powerful, as it had joint responsibility for regulating financial services and the EU’s single market.
But there was a growing feeling after the financial crisis that both jobs were too big for one DG. It was rumoured that, following the financial crisis, a new post only dealing with financial regulation would be created – “a financial services tsar”.
This role of economic and monetary affairs commissioner appears to be this new position. Indeed, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has oversight of financial regulation.
The nominee for this post will be Finland’s Jyrki Katainen, if the document is to be believed. France’s Pierre Moscovici was tipped for the job and the UK lobbied hard for its Commissioner Jonathan Hill to get it.
But the document does not have any details of an internal market commissioner, which could mean the post will be abolished or combined with another portfolio.
There is some confusion in the document about audit, customs and anti-fraud, currently held by commissioner Algirdas Šemeta.
There is a vice-presidency for budget and financial control, a separate customs commissioner and a commissioner for justice and anti-fraud.
Anti-fraud has risen up the executive’s agenda since the financial crisis made it vital member states access the revenue they are due.
Belgium gets punished
But the country that has got the worst deal is Belgium, which is assigned the portfolio for “Skills, Youth and Multilingualism”. The name of the Belgian commissioner is not indicated in the organigram, as the country, which is struggling to form a government, will probably make its choice today (4 September).
The Belgian press reports that Marianne Thyssen, a Flemish centre-right MEP, will get the job, contradicting earlier rumours saying Belguim would nominate outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders as its next Commissioner.
Thyssen’s nomination would bring the number of women in the new EU executive to nine, avoiding a political battle in the European Parliament.
Mixed fortunes for Eastern Europe
Romania, which lobbied to retain the agriculture portfolio currently held by Dacian Cioloş, is likely to obtain Humanitarian Aid for its candidate Corina Creţu (S&D). Surprisingly, the coveted agriculture portfolio is attributed to Ireland’s Phil Hogan.
Bulgaria may consider itself a victim of the late arrival to the race of Poland’s Bieńkowska. Kristalina Georgieva, the current Bulgarian commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid who was a strong candidate to replace Catherine Ashton as EU chief, was poised to become budget commissioner in the Juncker team.
She has been replaced by the Polish candidate, who was seen in her country as a possible Prime Minister when Donald Tusk will leave for Brussels to take his European Council President job. So Georgieva gets the portfolio of Taxation and Fight against Fraud, and misses the Vice President title.
However it appears strange that a Pole would get the budget job in two successive commissions, as the current budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski is also Polish.
Heavyweights get promoted
Some candidates who have held important positions in their countries have obtained “extras” in the Juncker organigram. Bratušek who still serves as Prime Minister of Slovenia gets a Vice President job, and so is Valdis Dombrovkis, a former Prime Minister of Latvia, and Estonia’s Andrus Ansip, who was the longest-serving head of government in the EU (2005-2014).
No surprise for Germany
Günther Oettinger, the incumbent energy commissioner, will get the trade portfolio in the next EU executive, according to the organigram, as Germany wanted. This means that Oettinger would also become chief negotiator for the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The lucky ones
Croatia’s Neven Mimica (S&D), the current commissioner for consumer protection, will get the coveted job of Regional Policy commissioner. Austria’s Johannes Hahn (EPP) will get the neighbourhood portfolio, which has assumed geostrategic importance in the light of the Ukraine crisis. It is unclear if Hahn will also deal with EU enlargement, as this portfolio has disappeared from the organigram.
The logical choices
Malta’s Karmenu Vella (S&D) will get the fisheries portfolio. Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager (ALDE) will get Environment. Lithuania’s Vytenis Andruikaitis, a physician by training, will be responsible for Health and Food Safety.
Slovakia’s current Commission Vice President and commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration Maroš Šefčovič (S&D) is clearly downgraded to holder of the Development portfolio. Spain, who hoped to get an important portfolio for its candidate Miguel Arias Cañete (EPP), is likely to be disappointed by his attribution according to the organigram: Research and Innovation.
The Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová (ALDE), a Regional Development Minister who was presented as a candidate for the portfolio of regional funds, is in fact assigned Transport ad Space. Space hasn’t appeared so far as a Commission attribution.
And the rest
The remaining attributions are Customs for Hungary’s Tibor Navraczics (EPP), Employment and Social Affairs for Portugal’s Carlos Moedas (EPP) and Internet and Culture for Cyprus’ Christos Stylianides (EPP). Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos (EPP) gets Migration, Fundamental Rights and Home Affairs, rather surprisingly, given the fact that his country is frequently criticised for the bad treatment of asylum seekers.
How about clusters?
In theory, groupings of commissioners could be organised ad-hoc, and some degree of subordination could be established under the Vice Presidents and some of the commissioners. But nothing in the organigram indicates possible ‘clusters’ of commissioners.