At a press conference earlier today, European Commission President-Elect Jean Claude Juncker presented his team of Commissioners and unveiled his plans for several structural reforms.
Among the many changes introduced by Mr Juncker, and the one most relevant to the EU shipping industry, is the renaming of Directorate General (DG) for Mobility and Transport to DG for Transport and Space. In line with the new space dimension that has been added to the existing DG MOVE, the new DG would incorporate several space-related units from DG Entreprise and Industry. Mr Juncker has put forward Slovak candidate Maroš Šefčovič as the Commissioner of this new Service, taking over from Mr Siim Kallas. Mr Šefčovič is a Slovak diplomat and the current European Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration.
“We congratulate Mr Šefčovič on his nomination as Transport and Space Commissioner and look forward to a fruitful cooperation with him. We also thank outgoing Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas for the excellent collaboration we have had in the past five years” commented ECSA Secretary-General Patrick Verhoeven.
Following the European elections in May, the major reshuffling of EU top jobs is drawing to a close. After a period of intense deliberations, the President and Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament (EP) as well as Quaestors have assumed their new roles. EP Committees have now been formed and their Chairmen have been nominated.
In the European Commission tectonic plates are also moving. President Juncker, after receiving the support of the European Council in June, was elected to the position of Commission President in July by the EP. Following lengthy negotiations with Member States, Mr Juncker presented today his College of Commissioners.
Some of the other changes that are relevant to the EU shipping industry include:
• The nomination of Danish candidate Margrethe Vestager as the new Competition Commissioner(DG COMP), replacing Joaquin Almunia.
• The merger of DG Environment (ENVI) with DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE) to form the new DG Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Maltese candidate Karmenu Vella is nominated as the new Commissioner for this new DG, taking over from former ENVI Commissioner Janez Potočnik and MARE Commissioner Maria Damanaki.
• Belgian candidate Marianne Thyssen has been nominated as the new Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, taking over from László Andor.
• Yet another portfolio will be created through the union of two existing ones. DGs Climate Action and Energy will also merge to create a new Commission service, under the responsibility of Spanish candidate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, replacing ENER Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and CLIMA Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.
• DG Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD) and DG Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECFIN) will also be fused into a single DG under French candidate Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, taking over from Jyrki Katainen.
• Finally, Italian candidate Federica Mogherini has been designated as the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, succeeding Lady Catherine Ashton as the head of the European External Action Service.
The proposed team of Commissioners will now have to receive the blessing of the European Parliament. To that end, candidate hearings by the EP will be held in the week of the 29th of September. Should the MEPs agree to the proposed team, the Juncker Commission will officially begin its term on the 1st of November and steer EU policy-making for the next five years.
The Commission has issued an official press release available here, as well as a Q&A that is available here