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One of Holland's brightest diplomats is moving to the heart of Brussels’ bureaucracy. Known for his energy, language skills and social media addiction (the first pictures from a European Commission meeting have already been posted on Facebook), former diplomat Frans Timmermans quickly gained popularity as the Dutch foreign minister after years as social-democratic MP. A more vital and visible minister than his predecessors, Timmermans is seen as having put the Netherlands back on the map in international relations with his constant travels and good personal relations with other leaders. He especially received a lot of praise for his moving speech at the UN Security Council after the crash of flight MH17 over Ukraine. It came as no surprise when he was nominated for a European commissariat, although the exact responsibilities of the newly invented position were unexpected: As EC
This is a part of a translation of an article first published by Contexte.
Juncker Entrusts Energy and Climate to Spanish Conservative
The former Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete is an expert on European politics. His close ties to the oil industry have earned him the scorn of ecologists, who do not deem him progressive enough. The Spanish government, however, is satisfied with his portfolio. The former Agriculture Minister under the Rajoy administration will be in charge of energy and climate. Spanish conservatives are obviously delighted by the news. The decision was announced on the 10th of September by the president elect of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, and must still be approved by the European Parliament. The candidates will be evaluated by the European Parliament on the 29th of September.
A choice criticized by ecologists
The decision has
Juncker’s new Commission has been well received. Italy is happy to see the independent-minded Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva was named Vice President and Commissioner Budget and Human Resources. There is a bit of concern over Finland's former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, who can be firmly placed within the austerity camp, being nominated Vice President and the Commissioner in charge of jobs, growth investment and competitiveness.
But most media attention is centred on another Vice President, Federica Mogherini, the 41-year-old Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, who was appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and will lead the EU’s foreign policy for the next five years. In Juncker’s new cluster model she will also supervise and guide the work of four other commissioners: the Directorates-General of Development, Humanitarian Aid,
Throughout the European reform debate of the past decade, there has been a mainstream political consensus in Germany in favour of the European Commission assuming the role of government in the European Union’s political system. This accounts for Germany’s willingness to give up its second commissioner as a consequence of enlargement. It also influenced Germany to lend some support to the French initiative, launched in the European Convention phase of reform, of significantly reducing the number of commissioners. Berlin did not give it its full backing to the idea because of the explicit concerns of smaller member states. Rather, the German government made it known that Berlin could live with seeing no German commissioner serving in Brussels.
Berlin supported the Lisbon Treaty’s compromise on the number of commissioners, as well as the decision not to apply its provisions in light
Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria will be one of the six vice-presidents in Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission. She will have responsibility for the European Union’s budget and its institutions’ human resources. Together with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans who has received the portfolio for Better Regulation, Georgieva will act as the main agent of cohesion and accountability of the commission, which under Juncker’s new structure is more decentralised.
With quite a few former prime ministers and other high-profile politicians on board, Juncker’s team risks lacking a single focus and direction. Georgieva has won the post of Junker’s left, if not right, hand because of her efficiency and experience in large multinational institutions – she was previously vice-president at the World Bank. She was also helped by her independence from the agendas of the larger member
As tensions in Asia increase, Europe cannot take Asia’s stability for granted.
Time for a new approach that takes into account other regional dynamics
EU approach to Algeria neglects long-term domestic stability