Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

EU news: Von der Leyen to demolish Juncker’s poorly ‘thought out’ system | World | News


The Commission president-elect is said to be considering a move to hand more power to her most senior deputies. Under the proposal, vice presidents Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager will be allowed to influence and set legislation going forward. This would spell an end to a system implemented by Mr Juncker and the Commission’s former secretary-general Martin Selmayr, which was used to manage the bloc from a centralised position.

Currently, the five vice presidents of the Brussels-based executive don’t have direct access to officials and staff working on swathes of policies.

Instead, they would have to rely on the Commission’s in-house bureaucracy, the Secretariat-General, while trying to influence work on legislation.

The current system “wasn’t well thought out”, a Commission official told Politico.

The website reports that the new arrangement would see Mr Timmermans and Ms Vestager handed roles as so-called “first vice-presidents”.

They will be put in charge of teams of commissioners and their policy officials, giving them a direct influence on a wider range of portfolios than usual.

Both officials were narrowly edged out by European Union leaders during the contest to replace Mr Juncker as Commission president.

Therefore, the new senior roles are designed to preserve the balance of power when Ms von der Leyen eventually takes office in November.

“You cannot have three presidents, but you need a bizarre love triangle,” an official said.

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Irish nominee Phil Hogan is reportedly keen on securing the role as trade commissioner, which will oversee huge parts of the post-Brexit negotiations with Britain.

Ms Vestager, a liberal Dane, will most likely carry on as the bloc’s anti-trust and competition commissioner, according to sources.

Allies of Ms von der Leyen were quick to pour cold water on reports that she has already agreed to a new leadership structure.

One source said: “It’s definitely no one from her transition team.”



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