While in Slovenia, where the outgoing government sent to the president-elect of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker a list of three nominees for the Slovenian commissioner, we are still discussing about the legitimacy and even legality of such nomination, the new Commission team is slowly forming. Even if it was expected that the whole team would be put together before Saturday’s European Council summit, it seems rather impossible. In fact, on Saturday it is expected the nomination of the new president of the European Council and the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The naming of this two figures will play an important role in the filling of the Commissioners seats.
As reported by EurActiv, Juncker is waiting for the nomination of the last two high-profile jobs within the EU, before presenting the Commission team. For the Commission it is specially important the nomination of the new High Representative, who is also one of the Vice-Presidents of the Commission. Rumors spreading after the European elections were stating that the Italian Prime Minister Renzi wants that this post would be filled by the current Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Federica Mogherini. However, such choice is not supported by several Member States, specially because of her lack of experience and too positive attitude against Russia. If she wouldn’t be nominated it is expected that Italy would seek another important position within the Commission, which could cause Juncker further problems.
Beside Mogherini, another top candidate for this position seems to be the current Commissioner from Bulgaria Kristalina Georgieva. However, she would be probably acceptable only if the position of President of the European Council will be filled by the current Danish Primer Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, as Georgieva is a member of the EPP, while Thorning-Schimdt belongs to the Socialists.
Even if Saturday’s plan, that was around already in the aftermath of the last European elections, will be adopted, this will not represent the end of Junkcer’s problems. Rumors state that Member States nominated just four women candidates (from Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria). Even if Belgium will nominate Marianne Thyssen, there will still be a very gender unbalanced Commission, specially if compared with the outgoing Commission, which has 9 women. The lack of women candidates would possibly mean that the Parliament wouldn’t confirm the new Commission. This intention was confirmed by the head of the Liberal’s political group in the Parliament Guy Verhofstadt, who stated that his political group would not back the Commission if it wouldn’t have enough women and if there will be too much members form the EPP group (currently more than half, 14).
It is expected that Juncker will present its team in the first or second week of September, if the above mentioned top positions are filled on Saturday. Then, the candidates will have to pass the hearings within the EP’s committees. The appointment of the Commission as a whole is expected during the October’s plenary session of the EP. If everything goes according to plans, the newly appointed Commisson should start its work on November 1st. As we are talking about the EU, surprises are not excluded.