Following the appointment of Donald Tusk to replace Herman Van Rompuy as President of the Council, Federica Mogherini the 41 year old Italian as VP and Foreign Policy chief, Jean Claude Juncker is now set to announce the line out of his Commission team.
There is considerable talent amongst the new commission. Our own Phil Hogan is viewed by EU watchers as amongst those of the middle ground. His chances of capturing the Agricultural portfolio improved with the late replacement by Romania from their Commission current member, the Agriculture commissioner, whom they had initially re-nominated. At the summit on the 30th of August, they offered a second name that of the female Socialist MEP Corina Cretu which Juncker plumped for. Expect to hear much of Ms Cretu over the life of the Commission.
But for Hogan, Dublin MEP Nessa Childers’s may have put the cat amongst the pigeons when she wrote to her parliamentary colleagues raising her serious concerns as to his suitability as a Commissioner.
Juncker will be reluctant to have a Commission nominee for any top spots come under too much heat when they attend before parliament to be questioned by MEP’s who will vote on their suitability for their role, as this may be a factor in the final decision as to the job given to Hogan.
Phil can count on strong support from the EPP and S&D. Both seem to be working in close co-operation in power sharing with an understanding on job distribution. Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes will be to the front in defending his Government’s nomination of Hogan. Brian seems intent on maintaining the high public profile he enjoyed as junior minister. SF MEP, Lynn Boylan was a member of an EU Palestine / Israel fact find mission. Missions such as this, are important in assisting members understand and identify with the people and issues of these regions. The EU policy makers must look outside its immediate area and be ready to respond to the needs of other regions.