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Europe

New EU Commission Takes Shape

Barroso's team of EU executives is finally complete. The EU Commission announced that all member states had named candidates. Speculation continues over who will get the most influential positions.

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EU head Barroso has a tough job ahead of him

Now the hard work begins for José Manuel Durão Barroso, the head of the European Commission. In three weeks, he is expected to announce the final constitution of the EU's executive body. The rumors and wrangling over how he will fill the 24 positions started even before he was appointed to the office in July.

Barroso had little influence over the choice of appointees, which each country selected independently, but he had hoped that at least eight, or one-third, of the new commissioners would be women. In the end, his pleas seem to have been heard: Austria, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden all nominated women.

Danuta Hübner, neue polnische EU Komissarin

Poland nominated Danuta Hübner, who negotiated her country's entry into the EU, for a position on the European Commission.

While five of the appointees already served on the previous commission, the newcomers are no new kids on the block: nearly all of them have held high level political positions in their own countries. Seven former prime and foreign ministers -- along with Barroso, formerly Portugal's prime minister -- will join the EU executive as well as a slew of past cabinet members. Several of the Eastern European nominees have already become well acquainted with Brussels as chief negotiators for their countries to join the EU.

Not all the same

Barroso's office has consistently denied all speculation about how he will fill the posts, and he will be at pains to stress that no position is more important than another. He has already said he won't succumb to pressure from the large countries, such as Germany, which has called for a big portfolio to reflect it's influence in the bloc.

Areas like foreign, monetary and trade policy and competition are indeed influential -- many argue the most important in the commission. Larger EU members France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain are all vying for these posts after they relinquished one of their two commission positions to make way for the enlarged 25-member bloc. Therefore, Barroso will likely try to appease them with high profile posts. He will also have to create five new positions to bring the number of portfolios up to 25.

The Portuguese politician is set to announce the results on August 27. The new commission will start its work on November 1.

The new European Commission

Austria: Benita Ferrero Waldner, currently foreign minister
Belgium: Louis Michel, currently foreign minister
Cyprus: Markos Kyprianou, former finance minister
Czech Republic: Vladimir Spidla, outgoing prime minister
Denmark: Mariann Fischer Boel, currently agriculture and fisheries minister
Estonia: Siim Kallas, former prime minister
Finland: Olli Rehn, former government economics advisor
France: Jacques Barrot, currently EU regional policy commissioner
Germany: Günter Verheugen, currently EU enlargement commissioner
Greece: Stavros Dimas, currently EU employment commissioner
Hungary: Laszlo Kovacs, currently foreign minister

Ireland: Charlie McCreevy, currently finance minister
Italy: Rocco Buttiglione, currently Europe minister
Latvia: Ingrida Udre, currently speaker of parliament
Lithuania: Dalia Grybauskaite, former finance minister
Luxembourg: Viviane Reding, currently EU culture commissioner
Malta: Joe Borg, former foreign minister
Netherlands: Neelie Kroes, former transport minister
Poland: Danuta Hübner, former chief Polish negotiator for enlargement
Portugal: EU Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso, former prime minister
Slovakia: Jan Figel, former chief Slovak negotiator for enlargement
Slovenia: Janez Potocnik, former Europe minister
Spain: Joaquin Almunia, currently EU monetary affairs commissioner

Sweden: Margot Wallström, currently EU environment commissioner
United Kingdom: Peter Mandelson, former trade minister

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