On Tuesday September 10th, Ursula von der Leyen presented her team during a much-anticipated press conference. Each of the Commissioner-designate was been given a portfolio and a mission letter, outlining what their priorities will be. It’s the first time the team of Commissioner-designate is so gender balanced, with 13 women and 14 men. She also went into more detail on how the new European Commission will be structured.
A major change in comparison with the previous Commission will be the role of the 3 Executive Vice-Presidents, a new position created to streamline activities on 3 core topics of this Commission: climate, digitalisation and economy. These topics are translated into respectively the ‘European Green Deal’ portfolio, for Frans Timmermans, the ‘Europe fit for a Digital Age’ portfolio, for Margrethe Vestager and the portfolio ‘An Economy that Works for People’ for Mr Valdis Dombrovskis. Based on their profiles and their portfolios, it’s clear that these Vice-Presidents will play a key role in the new European Commission.
In addition to these 3 Executive Vice-Presidents, there will be 5 non-executive Vice-Presidents, one of which will be the Vice-President for ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’, Mr Margaritis Schinas. He’ll be responsible for using the potential of sport to bring people together and to help young people develop new skills. One of the commissioners reporting to Mr Schinas, will be the Commissioner for Innovation and youth, Ms Mariya Gabriel, who will also be in charge of sport policy, where she’ll focus on promoting the #BeInclusive awards and growing the European Week of Sport to make more people more active. Another commissioner who’ll be reporting to Mr Schinas is the Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides. She will be responsible for promoting and protecting public health in the EU and will be focussing i.e. on promoting healthy lifestyles.
In the coming weeks, all Commissioner-designate will be studying their portfolios in detail in preparation of the hearings in the European Parliament, which will start on September 30th. Each Commissioner-designate will be looking for enough support in his or her respective Parliamentary Committee, before the European Parliament votes on the full college of Commissioners during the subsequent plenary session in October. It’s not unlikely that one or more Commissioner-designate will have to retract their candidacy because the will not get the backing of Parliament. If this is the case, the member state who’s candidate has dropped out will look for a new candidate, in consultation with President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen.
EuropeActive will keep a close eye on the Parliamentary hearings of the Commissioner-designate with a relevant portfolio and we look forward to work with the selected Commissioners.