Juncker’s revolution: Grand coalition with Socialists as junior partner

Euranet, 12.09.2014

Interview

Link to interview


Who won and who lost in the distribution of posts in the new EU Commission? Considering the whole picture, the Socialists didn’t do very well while the nomination of Frans Timmermans stands for a grand coalition. The internal powerplay in the Commission has to prove itself in practice. [...]

A signal for a Grand Coalition

By choosing the Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermanns to be his First Vice-President, Jean-Claude Juncker is demonstrating the Grand Coalition within this new Commission, says Janis Emmanouilidis, director of the European Policy Centre.

Juncker presented what he called a winning team, getting the last chance for the European Union to solve its big problems. At the very moment he talked about the planned revolution, he switched into talking French, which should probably not be seen in relation to national identity of the distributed portfolios. Those are not given to countries, but to persons, the chief of the Commission stressed.

By trying to establish the Commission as a stronger political body, Juncker put the bar rather high and it will be interesting to see how member states will react, said Emmanouilidis.

In his Commission there will be team leaders and team players, explained Juncker while he presented his changes to shake up things. Besides the First Vice-President he nominated six other vice-presidents, who are supposed to coordinate different working fields.

Power levels to be defined

The model will have to be tested in practice, Emmanouilidis stressed. Giving more power to the vice-presidents could create some problems, if the normal commissioners do not agree with the vice-presidents. [...]

Socialists did not manage very well

Emmanouilidis added that by looking at the whole picture, the Socialists didn’t succeed to ensure a solid position within the new European Commission, at least compared to the results they achieved at the polls during the recent European elections in May. [...]

A tough ride through Parliament?

He could not be the only one to have a tough ride through the hearings in the European Parliament. The Spanish Miguel Cañete (climate action and energy) raised harsh criticism as well as the former Hungarian Minister for Justice, Tibor Navracsics (education, culture, youth and citizenship) and the British Jonathan Hill (financial stability, financial services and capital markets).

But in the end the European Parliament will probably be cooperative and say yes to the Juncker team, Emmanouilidis predicted.

Listen to the whole interview here


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