On Wednesday 27 November, the European Parliament confirmed the composition of the new European Commission, thus providing a green light for the new team of Commissioners to start their work on Sunday 1 December. As stated by the new Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming Commission – which she wishes to be resolutely ‘geopolitical’ – comes with a strong ambition to boost the EU’s position on the world stage as new great powers appear.
“I want a more outward-looking Europe. A Europe which collectively defends our common values and interests in the world,” said von der Leyen in her speech at the 2019 Paris Peace Forum.
This ambition is to be delivered through a new hierarchical structure organised around three newly-created Executive Vice-Presidents, each embracing what will become the Commission’s main priorities for the 2019-2024 mandate:
Those Executive Vice-Presidents will work closely with the five Vice-Presidents and eighteen Commissioners together forming the entire new college.
In the eyes of many, this new Commission comes at a historical moment for the future of Europe, which has to face unprecedented challenges both inside and outside its borders. The priority will therefore be for Europe to find its own path forward and focus on those areas where it can truly create competitive advantages. In this context, it seems Margrethe Vestager’s statement reaches far beyond the digital economy alone: “The secret to success for Europe is not to be more like America or China, but to play to our own strengths.”*
* Building a positive digital world, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s speech at the Digital Summit, Dortmund, Germany, 29 October 2019