Juncker presented his Commission line up of 19 men and 9 women. His approach to portfolios and management has the appearance of freshness. He appointed six Vice Presidents along with Mogherini the Foreign Policy chief, who is an automatic VP since her appointment by the heads of state. These seven will now, in effect be an oversight committee supervising and directing on occasion the work of their fellow commissioners. These VPs will be the inner cabinet. A new departure and should provide a greater co-ordination within the Commission.
Mogherini herself will have to work closely with four of her colleagues, as she manages the external relations of the EU. Currently the department, which is headed by Lady Aston, is housed in a building separate to that of the Commission. This separation, added to Aston’s absence from meetings of the College of Commissioners, left her department closer to the heads of government and it was thought that did not reflect Commission positions strongly enough. Mogherini and her colleagues will draw together the interests immediately affected by external relations.
This new style department may have serious work to do should Scotland opt out of the UK. Juncker has said he is against expansion of the union during his five year term.
No issue arose when Germany was reunited as the community was not increased in number. Should Scotland cede from the union and seek admittance to the EU, their joining will entitle them under normal circumstance, a seat at the commission table. Should the EU agree to Scottish membership as a separate country, no matter how packaged, this will grow an expectation to membership and full participation in the EU on the part of for example, Catalonia, should they succeed in separating from Spain.
Such fragmentation of member states may just become small issues should the difficulties within Eastern Europe, the Middle East and particularly Syria and Iraq, not be brought quickly into check. The American proposal of air strikes on IS within Syria would appear to be an act of aggression against Syria, unless the Syrian Government invites the intervention or the UN provide legitimacy by way of resolution.
It appears unlikely that Russia will co-operate at UN level and Syria will hold out pending acceptance of their offer of joint operation with the US in addressing the problem. As these disputes continue, pressure is put on, particularly, the Mediterranean countries of the EU with increased numbers of illegal refugees seeking refuge from these conflicts.