A Fresh New Start – President Junker
The Next President of the European Commission will be Jean-Claude Junker. One can only hope he is better than previous Luxembourg President of the Commission, Jacques Santer, whose incompetence was so dire, that the European Parliament threw him out of office.
EU leaders choose him as their Candidate on 27 June. The UK and Hungary voted against him.
Kindred Spirits – Farage & Junker
It is not clear whether his first act as President of the Commission will be to drop the smoking ban in offices. Life in the Commission for a chain smoker could be tough.
The BBC’s reporting of European Affairs has progressively declined. Sometimes it seems they are sharing the Daily Mail’s lead writer. But, they did provide this useful next steps timeline:
- 1-3 July – First post-election session of new European Parliament
- 14-17 July – European Parliament votes on nominee for Commission president – expected to back Mr Juncker
- September – Parliament grills each nominee for 28-member Commission (one from each member state)
- October – Parliament votes on new Commission team
- November – New Commission should take office, as should new EU foreign policy chief and new European Council president.
What Happens in the meantime
Now, you may have thought, as I did, that in the meantime, President Barosso, and the remaining Commissioners would have a very caretaker role.
They remain in office until the European Parliament endorse the whole of the new Commission including President Junker. This means we have a few months of the old team before the new team comes in.
There are a lot of sensitive issues remaining, which President Barosso preferred not to force decisions on. It is not something he likes to do. For example, the Environment Commissioner wants to introduce an overhaul of Waste legislation already. I find it strange that an incumbent administration can push out legislative proposals that will bind the new administration.
It is perhaps the key job of the President of the Commission to, at times make tough decisions, or at least for his Cabient to make recommendations for him to make tough choices. This is something that President Barroso has not been good at. It is tragic that important decisions are left to slide to the very last moment to be unblocked after emotional appeals from a fellow Commissioner or their Head of Cabinet.
Who Will the Advisers Be
One of the more important jobs in Brussels is to be an advisor to a Commissioner. This Cabinet of personal advisors to the Commissioner have a key role.
After President Junker’s confirmation by the EP, he will fly around to national capitals seeking their nominations on who they want to submit as their Commissioner. He will then announce the package all at once with their designated portfolio.
This Commissioner designate will then appoint a Head of Cabinet whose first job is to get their boss confirmed by the European Parliament. This Head of Cabinet often is someone from his predecessor’s Cabinet or a recommendation. The Head of Cabinet will also organise a new Cabinet, with high flying officials sending in their updated CVs in. Usually there are 7 people, although the Vice Presidents get 9 and the President 13.
There are meant to be 3 nationalities in the Cabinet. It seems that rule never got translated into Italian for the last Commission.