Juncker´s Bunch

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Under the Infrographic informing about new composition of the European Commission, there were several statistical statements, which were supposed to prove that it is a strong and experienced team. Its four members are former prime ministers, other four are former deputy prime ministers, twenty of them have an experience with serving as ministers, seven are former Euro commissioners, and finally, eight served in the European Parliament. Regarding their areas of expertise, economic and financial areas are the dominating ones, since eleven members of the new Commission have particular experience from these fields and remaining eight of them served within international relations.

So, what can we expect from this newly formed Juncker´s bunch? Through closer look at the list of newly approved Euro Commissioners, we cannot overlook, at least, two positions where first one is definitely a positive message, while the second is clearly a bad one. The good news is that the idea of better regulation in new Commission is, maybe surprisingly, well covered. This label covers also the initiatives for removing those European directives which were identified as absurd or even annoying for the citizens or companies. Therefore, it is good that this issue is covered in porfolio of the first vice chairman of the European Commission. One of the countries which are the most experienced in that field and with the best results as well is Netherlands.

Despite the positive message that the responsiblity for that issue has been assigned right to the Dutchman, the fact that Frans Timermans served many years within the field of foreign politics, which implies that better regulation would not be his area of expertise. It creates a risk that this area will be dimmed by further three areas which are in his portfolio. To be more specific, these are Interinstitutional Affairs, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights. It will soon be known, whether the theme of a better regulation will figure in Timermans´ personal priorities or not. In mid October, the final statement of so-called Stoiber´s Committee was published suggesting many interesting and quite courageous drafts for reduction of administrative load resulting from European legislation. These recommendations were presented to the outgoing Barroso´s Commission. The key point, though, will be the approach of new Commission and, predominantly, its first vice chairman for better regulation. We can only hope that he won´t be ignoring the recommendations, nor putting them away, but on the contrary, that he will use them as a proper foundation for improvement in that particular field, which is recognised negatively by many companies and citizens as well.

The bad news is the appointment to the influential and powerful position of European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs. Much has been written and said about Pierre Moscovici and therefore it will be very interesting to observe, how this man will oversee the compliance with the rules, which should coerce members states to financial and fiscal discipline. Since it was exactly Pierre Moscovici who – in position of french Minister of Finance – was responsible for continuously criticizing these rules, and France, under his leadership, did not respect them in the past and does not do so even today… I have even heard a so-called optimistic explanation of Juncker´s choice. This position was delegated for France for exactly the reason of getting the “problematic“ country under more pressure. The principle of delegating responsibilities to the incompetent, or, in other words, the most incapable countries is absolutely unacceptable. If companies accepted this rule, they would quickly go bankrupt. Moskovici, then, poses a real threat that many aims of new Commission may be revoked. Moreover, nothing is changed by the fact that his “supervisor“ in the Commission is Commissioner for Euro Valdis Dombrovskis. A Commissioner coming from a small country governing the Commissioner from a big country. This may imply, within Juncker´s bunch, a relationship similar to the South-American soap opera. 

Translation: Daniel Bidlen and Martin Reguli

Jan Oravec