New European Commission line-up takes shape

All EU member states have now nominated a commissioner for the next European Commission, after Italy formerly submitted their candidate.

This means that incoming Commission President, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, is now in a position to announce which commissioners will be assigned to the various portfolios.

A statement published today, Monday, September 9, by the European Commission confirmed that Italy had become the latest, and final, member state to nominate a commissioner (with the exception of the UK, which had already signalled that it would not nominate a commissioner due to Brexit).

The portfolios are due to be distributed tomorrow, Tuesday, September 10, according to the statement.

Ireland’s commissioner, Phil Hogan, who up to now has been Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, looks set to be moved to a different brief.

Last week, it was revealed the Commission President von der Leyen had offered the agriculture and rural development job to the Polish commissioner.

In an interview in Polish media, the country’s former commission nominee Krzysztof Szczerski said he had decided to resign as a nominee as he felt he was not sufficiently experienced to deal with the agriculture brief.

“Because we had not previously assumed the possibility of Poland becoming the Commissioner for Agriculture, I decided to withdraw my candidacy. I believe that this portfolio is so important for Poland that it should be embraced by someone who has been engaged in agriculture all his life,” said Szczerski.

Poland has since nominated a different candidate.

There has been much speculation over what portfolio Commissioner Hogan would take on, with the trade brief being repeatedly mentioned.

In July, Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly gave his backing to Commissioner Hogan being given the trade position, saying he would “do a very good job”.

“Trade has been mentioned, and that would be a good one, because we are a trading country with a small open economy,” argued Kelly.