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European Parliament approves new College of Commissioners

The new European Commission will start work on 1 December after achieving a striking majority

  • November 27, 2019 13:28
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
Medium ekxbov1xkaafue
Source: Ursula von der Leyen Official Twitter

“Let’s get to work” – this is what the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said during her opening statement ahead of a crucial vote on her College of Commissioners in the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.

With a passionate defence of multilateralism and the global world order and an appeal to do more to fight climate change, Ursula von der Leyen’s speech managed to further convince MEPs that she and her commissioners-designate were the right people for the job. With a majority of 461, the Ursula von der Leyen commission will begin its term with comfortable legitimacy.

Rough road

Ursula von der Leyen’s journey to the Berlaymont building was fraught with stumbles and plagued by constant issues and disagreements with MEPs.

First, she faced incredible scrutiny before her approval as President of the European Commission.  Von der Leyen’s candidacy and nomination proved to be a very difficult pill to swallow for the European Parliament, whose members saw their Lead Candidate (Spitzenkandidat) system dismantled and tossed aside.

After barely managing to scrape by by achieving a majority of just 9 votes on her confirmation hearing the President-elect’s fight with the European Parliament immediately resumed upon her announcement of her new College of Commissioners – not only were some of the individuals deemed problematic during the hearings, which delayed the confirmation of the entire team by a month, but so were some of the names of the portfolios themselves – which led to the need of some quick last-minute changes.

Nonetheless, despite all the obstacles put in their way, Ursula von der Leyen and her new team have now won the approval of the European Parliament and will begin work on 1 December 2019.

And here is the full list of the new Commissioners and their respective portfolios:

  1. Frans Timmermans, Netherlands – European Green Deal
  2. Margrethe Vestager, Denmark - Europe Fit for Digital Age
  3. Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvia - An Economy that Works for People
  4. Josep Borrell Fontelles, Spain - A Stronger Europe in the World
  5. Maroš Šefčovič, Slovakia - Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
  6. Věra Jourová, Czechia - Values and Transparency
  7. Dubravka Šuica, Croatia - Democracy and Demography
  8. Margaritis Schinas, Greece - Promoting the European Way of Life
  9. Johannes Hahn, Austria - Budget and Administration
  10. Phil Hogan, Ireland – Trade
  11. Mariya Gabriel, Bulgaria – Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
  12. Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg - Jobs and Social Rights
  13. Paolo Gentiloni, Italy – Economy
  14. Janusz Wojciechowski, Poland – Agriculture
  15. Thierry Breton, France - Internal Market
  16. Elisa Ferreira, Portugal – Cohesion and Reforms
  17. Stella Kyriakides, Cyprus – Health
  18. Didier Reynders, Belgium – Justice
  19. Helena Dalli, Malta – Equality
  20. Ylva Johansson, Sweden – Home Affairs
  21. Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia – Crisis Management
  22. Adina Vălean, Romania – Transport
  23. Olivér Várhelyi, Hungary - Neighbourhood and Enlargement
  24. Jutta Urpilainen, Finland - International Partnerships
  25. Kadri Simson, Estonia – Energy
  26. Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuania - Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Together with her brand new team, Ursula von der Leyen will be faced with the challenges of a rapidly changing and evolving world – and their victories throughout the next 5 years will undoubtedly be felt by every European citizen.

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