Juncker reshapes roles for new climate and energy commissioners

The EU President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (Sept. 10) announced the names of the 27 Commissioners-designate who will form the new EU Commission for the period 2014-2019.

Juncker appointed Slovenia’s former prime minister Alenka Bratušek to the brand-new role of Vice-President for Energy Union, while former Spain’s agriculture and environmental minister Miguel Arias Canete has been appointed as the new Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.

The appointments belied rumors about nominees for climate and energy roles circulating in the past weeks, but they confirmed the foretold unification of climate and energy portfolios. According to official releases, the two directorates for climate and energy policies will remain two distinct services, but they will report to one commissioner as “climate action and energy are mutually reinforcing” and “Europe needs one, strong voice to speak on behalf of the European Union ahead of the United Nations Paris meeting in 2015 and beyond”.

The work of the commissioner for climate and energy, together with other six commissioners, will be steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for Energy Union, tasked to shape “a resilient Energy Union”, reducing the high energy dependency of Member States, strengthening the share of renewable energies and increasing Europe’s energy efficiency.

The final list of Commissioners-designate was adopted in common accord with the EU Council on Sept. 5, and it needs the consent of the EU Parliament before the team can take office on Nov.1.

The Guardian reported the confirmation of Miguel Arias Canete’s role is disputed due to his holdings in two oil companies, Ducor SL and Petrologis Canarias SL, that pose a conflict of interest. According to the Guardian, some MEPs asked Cañete to dispose of any oil company shareholdings before they consider giving his nomination a green light.