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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New European Commission Unveiled

On Friday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced who will make up the next European Commission.  The new Commission’s mandate runs from 2010 to 2014.  They are expected to take office around February 2010 as the European Parliament still has to approve the candidates and some may be subject to more of a grilling than others.

Some significant changes have been proposed but it’s still too early to know how this will impact policymaking.  One major development is to take climate change out of DG Environment.  There is some concern on how this may water down DG Environment’s already limited political power as climate remains the environmental cause du jour in Brussels, given that the biotechnology, pesticides and health unit is also on the move to the health directorate general.

Current Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik moves to DG Environment which could be an interesting position for him as he has been rather switched onto innovation and initiatives like the SusChem Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry which we work on.  The new Climate Action Commissioner is Denmark’s Environment Minister and host of next week’s Copenhagen climate summit, Connie Hedegaard.

German Günther Oettinger takes over the Energy DG from Andris Piebalgs who interestingly moves to Development.  And current Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou who joined this last Commission part-way through its term stays on as Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner.  Let’s hope she doesn’t have to say that whole mouthful too often.

For a complete listing, check out the Commission press release at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1837.

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