Hearings by Parliament are scheduled from the 29th, with three hours provided for each of the 26 new Commissioners. The vote on the appointment of the full Commission is set for the 22nd October. MEPs called on the nominated Energy Commissioner to sell his Spanish oil company shares, which he has now done. The Spanish Socialist say they will vote against the Juncker Commission on the basis of its perceived economic policies. The governing agreement within parliament may be under strain and some fall out might be expected but who the casualty will be, is as yet unclear.
Juncker has committed to no new members of the EU during the coming five years, yet he does not rule out preparation for enlargement after the period. Juncker clearly intends Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner from Austria, who heads up the Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement portfolio, to negotiate with candidate status countries, during the current term, such as Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia. This time lag will provide these countries the opportunity to strengthen their economies in preparation for full membership circa 2020.
Juncker does not have to face the immediate question of admitting or confirming membership to Scotland following the referendum result. I’m pleased to say, I called the result 55 per cent ‘No’ vote correctly on Twitter 30 minutes after the polls closed. But Junker cannot sit back just yet. Catalans are set to hold their own referendum to cede from Spain circa 9th November. The Spanish Government is set to challenge the legitimacy of such a vote through their courts. But as we see in the UK individual regions throughout Europe are beginning to demand more autonomy over their own affairs.
While the new French Cabinet won a vote of confidence in Parliament in the last week, others have not done so well. Some electoral upsets have occurred with the rise of the right wing AFD in regional elections in Germany, and this is the cause of concern to mainline parties in that country. In Sweden, the centre right coalition was defeated in a result that sees the Social Democrats struggle to establish a new Government. There is general concern again as the far right Sweden Democrats gained 13 per cent of the vote more than double their 2010 performance. Both these far right parties have anti immigration and national identity as main policy platforms. These results reflect a trend across Europe. Putting up the barricades is not the answer to the plight of those fleeing Syria, Egypt, Sudan or the Palestinian territories.