02 Dec, 2019

New liberal Commissioners ready to renew Europe

On Sunday 1 December, the new European Commission led by President Ursula von der Leyen took office. During this five-year mandate, liberal Commissioners – including Executive Vice-President, a Vice-President and four Commissioners – will hold key portfolios that will help shape some of Europe’s most crucial policy priorities, such as digitalization, democracy and the rule of law.

Margrethe Vestager – Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age:

Former Commissioner for Competition and main inspiration for the TV series “Borgen”, Margrethe Vestager holds the Executive Vice-Presidency for a Europe fit for the Digital Age. Before jumping to the European politics, she held key positions in Danish national politics including three ministerial positions. For seven years, she led ALDE party member Radikale Venstre (2007-2014) and for the 2019 European elections, she was a member of ALDE’s Team Europe.

As Executive VP for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, Vestager will take care of the competition rules and the EU digital policy. She will ensure that Europe maintains its digital leadership by supporting the industrial sector so that it can rapidly adapt to challenges, such as globalization, climate and digital transition, while keeping the human and ethical approaches. Vestager will work directly with President von der Leyen and oversee DG Competition (COMP) in addition to her already extensive portfolio (read mission letter here).

Vestager’s main priorities are a new long-term strategy for Europe’s Industrial Future, a new Digital Services Act, a European approach to Artificial Intelligence and a stronger enforcement of competition rules (more about her priorities here).

Věra Jourová– Vice-President for Values and Transparency

Former Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and ranked by the Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019, Věra Jourová holds the Vice-Presidency for Values and Transparency. She has a long-standing career in the public sector, as she has held key positions in the local and national governments in Czech Republic, including the Ministry for Regional Development. She is affiliated to ALDE member party ANO and was responsible of passing and implementing the GDPR regulation in her role as Commissioner.

As Vice-President for Values and Transparency, her main role is to strengthen democracy and transparency within the Union and protect the European democratic system form external interference as well as to uphold Europe’s values and rights including the rule of law, identity and human rights. She will also play an active role in the Conference on the Future of Europe and be the guidance of the Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders (read mission letter here)

Jourová’s main priorities are to ensure a more democratic and transparent Europe, a robust European Democracy Action Plan and to strengthen of Europe’s capabilities to defend its fundamental values (more about her priorities here).

Jourová’s experience together with the strong liberal alliance formed with other Commissioners, including Margrethe Vestager and Didier Reynders, will be key to address Europe’s democratic backsliding and shape a strong democratic structure.

Thierry Breton – Commissioner for Internal Market

Former professor at Harvard and Former Minister of Economy, finance and industry, Thierry Breton will be leading the work on Europe’s Internal Market. Breton has held CEO positions in three different enterprises, a ministerial position and has been a board member in international organisations including the IMF, which gives comprehensive background in both the private and public sectors.

As Commissioner for Internal Market, his role consists of completing the Digital Single Market through a framework that will ensure that the digital transition respects the European values. He will also work on industrial policy including SMEs and entrepreneurship as well as on building an open and competitive European defence and space industry. DG Communications, Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT), DG Internal Market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW) and a new DG Defence Industry and Space will support him in his mission (read mission letter here).

Breton’s main priorities include a smooth digital transformation in all sectors through adaptation funds, a higher investment in key technologies including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and to ensure a sustainable single market.

Breton’s extensive background on the field and working under the guidance of Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, will create an importance alliance to ensure a key industrial role of the EU at the world stage and the accomplishment of the digital transformation.

Janez Lenarčič – Commissioner for Crisis Management

Former Ambassador of Slovenia to the EU and a graduate in international law, Janez Lenarčič holds the Crisis Management portfolio. Having held key positions in the United Nations and the OSCE as well as in the Slovenian national government, he has solid experience in both international and European institutions. He was Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) from 2008 to 2014, when he became State Secretary for European and Foreign Affairs during Miro Cerar (SMC) government.

As Commissioner for Crisis Management, his main role is to prevent and react to crises within the Union to protect citizens and the environment as well as to provide European civil protection and humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable countries. DG European Civil protection and Humanitarian aid operations (ECHO) will support him in performing his mission (read mission letter here).

For this term, Lenarčič’s main priorities are to beef-up Europe’s response to the humanitarian crisis and enhance the visibility of EU’s crisis management, as well as to intensify EU’s efforts to prevent disasters especially in response to the climate crisis (more about his priorities here).

Didier Reynders – Commissioner for Justice

Didier Reynders holds the Justice portfolio in this new Commission mandate. With a long and well-established political background – he has served in the local and national governments as well as in the Belgian public institutions, and has held a ministerial position from 1999 to 2019 – his main role is to pursuit social justice by upholding the rule of law across the EU, preventing crime, fomenting judicial cooperation and ensuring consumer protection. DG Justice and Consumers (JUST) and the Internal Audit Service (IAS) will support him in performing his mission (read mission letter here).

To achieve his mission, Reynders’ has established as his main priorities: an “up and running” rule of law mechanism and the review and improvement of existing tools to ensure the highest level of consumer protection across Europe (more about his priorities here).

Kadri Simson – Commissioner for Energy

Kadri Simson holds the Energy portfolio during this new Commission mandate. With an academic background in history and political science, she has served in the local and national governments in Estonia. For almost 10 years, she was a member of the Estonian Parliament and from 2016 to 2019, she was Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure. She became Secretary General of ALDE member Centre Party in 2003 and held this role for four years.

As Commissioner for Energy, her main role is to ensure that Europeans have access to affordable, secure, reliable and clean energy, to develop an integrated and properly functioning European Energy market, and to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. She is also responsible for relations with the agency for the cooperation of energy regulators. DG Energy (ENER) will support her in performing her mission (read mission letter here).

Simson’s highlighted as her main priorities: a robust action-plan to significantly improve Europe’s energy-efficiency, a new Just Transition Fund and the acceleration of Europe’s transition to carbon neutrality (more about her priorities here).

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