An Italian top diplomat, a former French finance minister in charge of economic affairs, a German moving across from the energy portfolio to digital economy: the European Commission has named its new commissioners.
European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday unveiled his 28-person team of commissioners - offering a few surprises but largely the line-up expected beforehand.
Pierre Moscovici (pictured at top of article), a former French finance minister, will take up the important economic and monetary affairs portfolio - despite some vocal reticence on the appointment from German Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. His announcement as the man in charge of overseeing budgetary discipline in the debt-laden EU coincided with France saying that it would need another two years - until 2017 - to get its annual budget deficit in line with EU targets. Moscovici will be supported by a former Finnish prime minister, Jykri Katainen, and former Latvian premier Valdis Dombrovskis.
German Commissioner Günther Oettinger will move from his former position as energy commissioner to take up the digital economy portfolio, a post involving the overhaul of the EU's telecoms market. Oettinger had formerly been linked with the trade commissioner's post, amid the key negotiations on a free-trade pact with the US, but that post went to Sweden's Cecilia Malmström - formerly the home affairs commissioner.
London to monitor financial sector?
Britain's Jonathan Hill was given the portfolio described as Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union - a position that David Cameron's government had lobbied hard for. This commissioner will be in charge of relations with, among other things, the European Banking Authority. Britain, which is not a member of the eurozone currency union, is heavily dependent on its financial sector based primarily in London.
Federica Mogherini was named as arguably the most influential commissioner below Presdient-elect Juncker; the Italian foreign minister will succeed Catherine Ashton as the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Policy. Mogherini's appointment had also met with skepticism prior to Wednesday's announcement, amid accusations that she was too close to Russia in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.
Margarethe Vestager of Denmark will take over from Joaquin Almunia as the influential competition commissioner, in charge of clearing major expansion and merger plans and regulating on anti-trust charges. Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek will oversee efforts to create an energy union within the EU.
msh/se (AFP, dpa, Reuters)