European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. © Vitaly Belousov/POOL/TASSthe Former head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker wished her successor Ursula von der Leyen “to take care of Europe”the leadership of the institutions of the European Union changed from 1 Dec. Ended the term of office of the Executive structures of the EU – European Commission – under the leadership of Luxemburger Jean-Claude Juncker, who succeeded the ex-Minister of defence of Germany Ursula von der Leyen. Along with the rest of the commissioners has left his post as EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy, Italian Federica Mogherini, who also held the position of Vice-President of the European Commission. Now, the European diplomacy will be headed by former Minister of foreign Affairs of Spain Josep Borrell.The resignation of the head of the European Council pole Donald Tusk, who was replaced by the Belgian Charles Michel.
The December rotation is not affected only the European Parliament, as the powers of its Chairman, the Italian Antonio Tajani – ended in July. His chair was occupied by compatriot David Sassòli.
For retiring Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday during a farewell ceremony in the European Commission journalists was asked what he wished his successor. To this, Juncker replied: “I would have asked her to take care of Europe”. And these are not empty words – leaving the leaders left his successors several unresolved protracted crises.
First, as of December 1 remains unresolved the issue of supplies of Russian gas through Ukraine on January 1, 2020, will expire when the current transit contract. Trilateral talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine continued throughout the year, but has not yet yielded results. Moreover, in October the European court of justice upheld the claim of Poland and demanded to cancel previously granted by the European Commission exemptions from third energy package for the OPAL gas pipeline – a gas distribution network of the Russian “North stream”.
This decision means that until it is challenged, the OPAL and Nord stream can only be used at 50% capacity. However, the EU would be well-prepared for possible disruptions of supplies almost to capacity this fall, filling their storage facilities. The European Commission says that only stocks from storage facilities should be enough to survive the winter if it is not too cold.
Secondly, the unresolved issue of a British exit from the EU (Brexit). The United Kingdom was to leave the community on March 29, 2019, but due to sharp differences between the major British parties, the Parliament and the government to date are unable to agree upon a formula for Brexit and were forced three times to ask Brussels for the delay. The latter expires on 31 January 2020.
Thirdly, there is continuing immigration crisis. Since the peak in 2015, when Europe was attended by more than 1.8 million illegal migrants, the flow decreased, but only due to the deal with Turkey, which closed its borders to migrants. In return, Brussels has promised the Turks in an expedited manner to provide a visa-free regime and to provide assistance of €6 billion for the resettlement of migrants.
The promise of visa-free regime was violated almost immediately – Brussels accused Ankara of human rights violations and refused to cancel the visa. €6 billion was paid out in several tranches, however, there are differences: Brussels claims that have already transferred the entire amount, and Ankara – which has received less European money.
The situation is complicated by the sharp deterioration of relations between the EU and Turkey this year due to the exploration activities of Turkey in the exclusive economic zone within the European Union of the Republic of Cyprus. While Ankara keeps its promise not to miss migrants, but will it continue is the big question. The problem of integration and accommodation are already located in Europe, migrants also not resolved.
Finally, fourth, the EU became involved in positional trade war with the United States, in which each party tries to protect its own markets by imposing duties on goods to each other. Retired Juncker and European Commissioner for trade Cecilia malmström has taken a lot of effort to negotiate with the American administration on the abolition of duties, including promising to increase purchases of U.S. liquefied natural gas, which cost on average 30% higher than the Russian. All these efforts have not helped to solve the problem.
Moreover, trying to push its gas to the EU market, the United States threatened sanctions against European companies in the consortium for the construction of “Nord stream – 2”.
Each of these crises lasts for a long time, they all became familiar and does not look critical. However, the problems of the European Union collected and transferred in the chronic phase. And “treat” those with chronic disease will now have the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Commission is in the people
The Chairman of the EC will be three first Deputy (Executive Vice-President of the European Commission). The Dutchman Frans Timmermans, the first Vice-the current head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who claimed the presidency of the EC, but now he will have to oversee the fight against climate change. Danish Margrethe Vestager, who also applied for the post of President of the European Commission, will focus on the development of the digital economy. However, she will also oversee the competition, that is the dossier, which she does in the past members of the EC.
Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis will be in charge of the economy, financial services and social dialogue.
In addition to the three first deputies in the new European Commission will be five regular Vice-presidents. This is the head of the foreign service of the Spaniard Josep Borrell, the Czech Vera jourova, which deal with transparency issues and former head of the press service of the EC, the Greek Margaritis Schinas will be responsible for “protecting the European way of life”, the current Deputy EC on energy, the Slovak maroš Šefčovič, responsible for inter-institutional issues and forecasting, and a citizen of the youngest EU countries – Croatia, Dubravka Suica, which will deal with the issues of democracy and demography. It is expected that it will be partially in charge of the enlargement.
The economic bloc
The current EU Commissioner for enlargement, the Austrian Johannes Hahn will be engaged in administration and budget. The MEP from Estonia, Kadri Simson became the European Commissioner for energy.
The former Prime Minister of Italy Paolo Gentiloni will be engaged in the economy, and the current European Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan Irish became the European Commissioner for trade. The representative of Luxembourg, Nicolas Schmit will address issues of employment and ex-Minister of economy and Finance of France Thierry Breton became the European Commissioner for the internal market.
Pole Janusz Wojciechowski will be engaged in agriculture, the representative of the Portuguese ELISA Ferreira will get the post of European Commissioner for reform and even development. Lithuanian Virginijus Sinkevicius will deal with the problems of the environment and the oceans, and MEP from Romania Alina Valen the transport.
Expansion, migration and security
The European Commissioner responsible for accession negotiations to the EU States in the Balkans was the Hungarian diplomat Oliver’s Bargai, which will deal with enlargement and neighbourhood policy. The current foreign Minister of Belgium Didier Reynders will deal with issues of justice and respect for the rule of law, and the Swedish Silva Johansson will be responsible for internal Affairs and police cooperation. These two European commissioners will be engaged in problems of struggle with the migration crisis.
The representative of Slovenia Janusz Lenarcic will be engaged in responding to crises, that is, European Ministry.
Society, education, health
Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel was given the post of Commissioner for youth and innovation. The representative of Cyprus Stella Kyriakides will be engaged in health care, as a citizen of Malta Helena Dalli – the problems of equality in the EU.
Former Minister of Finance Finland Jutta Urpilainen will be responsible for international partnership in the first place – for humanitarian aid.Source