European Council on Foreign Relations

Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: view from the Netherlands

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

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: Spain’s Commissioner

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

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: View from Italy

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,

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: View from Bulgaria

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

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Security shapes European Parliament elections in Poland

'The Eurosceptic Surge and how to respond to it', a new policy brief by Mark Leonard and José Ignacio Torreblanca, is available to read online or in e-book format.

Click here for more 'Views from the capitals' blogposts

A few months ago, a defeat of the ruling Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) seemed to be the most likely outcome of the European elections. After seven years in power Tusk’s government and party has lost much of its appeal through its inability to convince people about their sense of direction and propose new ideas for the country’s modernization.A Civic Platform defeat in the European elections would boost the chances of the national-conservative Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) in the parliamentary elections to be held in 2015.While a victory in 2015 for Law and Justice would be limited by their struggle to form a coalition, it would

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