The last ones of the 27 commissioners-designate chosen by Jean-Claude Juncker to form the new EU Commission were heard on Tuesday (Sept, 7) in Bruxelles. The proposed team faced some criticism and got some loud rejections throughout the six days of hearings before the EU parliament’s committees, that force the new president-elected to speed changes in order to meet the 1 November deadline, when the new Commission should start its five-year term after having passed the Parliament’s official vote of investiture scheduled on Wednesday, Oct. 22. This infographic provided by the EU Parliament media center explains the process to set up the new Commission.
Commissioners-designate for climate and energy faced tough scrutiny
Among others, Spain’s Miguel Arias Cañete, who has been nominated as Climate Action and Energy commissioner, and Slovenia’s Alenka Bratušek, appointed to the brand-new role of Vice-President for Energy Union, failed to persuade the Parliament’s committees responsible for the portfolio they has been assigned. Greens MEPs defined Cañete’s candidacy “untenable” because of his personal and family involvement in the oil industry. The Socialists and Democrats alliance (S&D), the second largest voting bloc in the EU Parliament, also expressed doubts about his commitment to tackling climate change. He declared he does not own anymore shares of the two oil firms he worked for until 2011, but he refused to answer questions about stakes owned by his brother-in-law, RTCC reported. According to EurActive, his nominee could handle after an agreement between the S&D group and the European People’s Party’s (EPP) bloc, that would support the nomination as finance commissioner of the French Socialist Pierre Moscovici (questioned by France’s recent declaration of not meeting EU budget targets) in exchange for S&D green light on the Former Spain’s conservative agriculture and environmental minister.
The Vice-President for Energy Union candidate, Alenka Bratušek, was rejected by MEPs after her parliamentary hearing on Monday (Oct. 6). The Slovenian government selected Violeta Bulc, currently minister for development and regional policy, to subsitute Bratušek in the new EU Commission. According to European Voice, it is unlikely that Juncker will designate Bulc as vice-president for energy union, due to her short political career, and she is expected to have a formal interview on Tuesday (Oct. 14) after which the incoming president would assign her a more appropriate portfolio.
According to EU rules, each new nominee has to pass throughout the same hearing procedure. This means time is running out to guarantee the time schedule proposed for the new Commission to take office. Regarding European climate and energy policy issues, another important date is getting close. The EU Council committed itself to take a final decision on the 2030 framework (proposed by the Commission in January) on Oct. 23, only one day after the scheduled parliamentary vote on the Junker’s team.