Tag Archives: European Commission

Von der Leyen Commission start

“Starting today, we are the guardians of the Treaties, the custodians of the Lisbon spirit. I feel this responsibility. It is a responsibility towards our predecessors, our founding fathers and mothers, and all that they have achieved” said new president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at inauguration event in Museum of European History Brussels on December 1.

“But it is also a responsibility towards our children. The responsibility to leave them a Union that is stronger than the one we have inherited.

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“This place (the House of European history) shows the road that has led us here. It shows the treasure that we have inherited. A continent in peace. The liberation from tyranny. A single market with unprecedented economic opportunities. Greater rights and liberties than in any other place in the world.

“It is our duty to preserve this treasure. For me, this is almost personal. You know that my father was there at the very beginning of this European adventure – I might even be in some of the pictures that we see here today. The history of the European project for me is also family history.

“But Europe is not just a treasure we inherit. Europe is a promise. Europe is future. Europe is something that we all have to build – brick by brick, day by day.

“Ten years ago, our predecessors were still discussing whether Europe should have a flag or an anthem. But in these ten years, millions of people have taken to the streets waving the European flag, our flag. And millions have been inspired and moved by the Ode to Joy, our European anthem.

“Europe is changing fast. Our responsibility is to accompany such change. To leave no one behind. To be a champion for our fellow Europeans – with their dreams and aspirations.

The people of Europe have the strength to look towards the future with confidence.

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New Commissioners-designate awaiting hearing

Commissioners-designate Olivér Várhelyi (Hungary), Adina-Ioana Vălean (Romania) and Thierry Breton (France) will receive the audition in Parliament on November 14 in Brussels. (Image above: illustration).

Each candidate commissioner is invited to a live-streamed, three-hour hearing in front of the committee or committees responsible for their proposed portfolio.

The procedure will take place before the European Parliament votes the new European Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen into office, parliamentary committees assess the suitability of all commissioners-designate.

Parliament’s legal affairs committee identified conflicts of interests with two earlier candidates – László Trócsányi (Hungary) and Rovana Plumb (Romania) – while Sylvie Goulard (France) did not receive the support of the internal market and industry committees for the post of internal market commissioner. As a result, the three candidates had to be withdrawn and new candidates were proposed.

UK obligation to assign EU Commissioner

According to existing. EU Treaties the UK has an obligation to assign a candidate for a Commissioner to join European Commission next mandate team. In case Britons are still members of the European Union after October 31, they have to align with their legal obligations, and join the team.

Britain will have to propose a candidate for a commissioner in the next European Commission if it still is a member of the European Union after October 31 next head of the institution Ursula von der Leyen said.

The outgoing EU executive of Jean-Claude Juncker is supposed to conclude the five-year term on October 31, although a delay is imminent because the new Commission is still missing commissioners from France, Hungary and Romania. 

Under the EU Treaty each of the 28 member-states has to delegate one commissioner. 

Ursula von der Leyen reminded the UK about the obligations the EU membership imposes on the UK government.

Westminster aims at one year Brexit delay

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to negotiate further extension of Brexit deadline with the European Union, after he failed to win the support of Westminster for his Article 50 Agreement with the bloc, facing another delay caused by MP Oliver Letwin amendment. The MPs passed an amendment tabled by a cross-party group, led by Mr. Letwin by 322 votes to 306 – a majority of 16. The amendment says Parliament will withhold approval of the Prime minister’s deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Article 50 Agreement has been passed. In essence the #Letwin manoeuvre means winning time, shifting away the vote for endorsed in Brussels this week Brexit deal.

Voting down Prime Minister’s deal implies the request of a further postponement of abandoning the EU, the step Boris Johnson categorically denies, also pointing at the EU fatigue from the protracted debate on conditions of the departure.

MPs voted 322 to 306 in favour of a 26-word Letwin amendment that imposed an obligation on Prime Minister to ask the EU for a delay until the end of January 2020.

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“And of course, the truth of it is this is all about getting a second referendum. That is what the Remainer forces in Parliament want. And the more time they buy, the more chance they’ve got of getting something like that passed. 

“So you know, we’ve got this odd situation that goes on and on and on. A Remain Parliament and a Leave country and it’s just the most awful situation.

“I feel in the absence of a general election, nothing is going to improve” said Member of the European Parliament, and the leader of Brexit party Nigel Farage in his comment to LBC TV after the vote.

The representative of the European Parliament at Brexit talks. Guy Verhofstadt wrote: “The @Europarl_EN’s Brexit Steering Group will consider the outcome of today’s vote for the Letwin amendment on Monday. Whatever happens next, the marches outside the Parliament show just how important a close EU – UK future relationship is”.

The EU spokesperson said the European Commission took a note of the vote supporting Letwin amendment. “It will be for the UK government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible” she added.

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The president of the European Council had a telephone
conversation with Prime Minister Johnson, and is awaiting an official letter, informing the EU about the situation in the Westminster.

Josep Borrell faces MEPs scrutiny

Anna van Densky from Brussels The MEPS of Foreign Affairs Committee questioned Josep Borrell, Spanish candidate for High Representative/Vice-President for foreign affairs and security policy.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Josep Borrell, candidate EU top diplomat job.

During his introductory speech  Borrell stressed his intention to engage in reforms in the Western Balkans, support democracy and the integrity of Ukraine, address the challenges in the southern neighbourhood, develop a new strategy towards Africa, work on political relations with Asia, step up cooperation with Latin America and reinstate transatlantic relations (US-EU). “The world has changed for the worse…There are few agreements, more vetoes”, he said.

MEPs enquired how he intends to reach consensus among member states on decisions regarding e.g. Russia or generally related to security and defence. “We need shared strategic culture and empathy to understand the different points of view”, he replied. MEPs also asked about the role the EU could play in creating global security, when non-proliferation agreements are being breached. They also raised the issue of protecting EU maritime interests worldwide.

Asked about Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Borrell replied that negotiations have lasted too long and Europe has to engage in helping Kosovo and Serbia out of the deadlock. His first visit as High Representative/Vice-President would be to Pristina, Commissioner-designate announced.

MEPs also asked how he intends to achieve a more strategic and coherent union, as announced in the Mission letter of the Commission President Borrell said that the EU has tools for foreign policy, such as a powerful common trade policy or diplomatic power. “The EU has to learn to use the language of power”, he stressed.

Finnish Jutta Urpilainen for EU development cooperation job

The Development Committee questioned  the candidate Jutta Urpilainen for the international partnerships portfolio on future development cooperation and respect of EU values.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Commissioner-designate Urpilainen.

During her introductory speech, Jutta Urpilainen said that the 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals is “a golden opportunity for the European Union” to continue to play a leadership role in supporting partner countries to eradicate poverty worldwide, whilst also “promoting values, including empowering women and girls as a precondition for inclusive societies”.

 

Gender equality should be a top priority and mainstreamed in all policies and programmes, she added.

MEPs put forward several questions on the ongoing negotiations on the proposed Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, the post-Cotonou agreement with countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, calling for greater transparency to keep the European Parliament and the public informed.

Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on how she would ensure that EU values are respected, particularly on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are a priority in international cooperation. Later in the hearing, MEPs raised the issue of linking development to migration challenges and the Paris Agreement on climate action.

The full hearing link below:

New Commission media team announced

Ursula von der Leyen, endorsed as a top EU executive, announces her future media relations team:

Jens Flosdorff, a German national with 15 years’ experience in political communication, is currently part of the President-elect’s transition team. He was director of communication in the German ministries of defence and of social affairs over the past ten years. Previously, he served as deputy and chief spokesperson for the German ministry of family affairs (2005-2009) and deputy chief spokesperson for the ministry of social affairs of Lower Saxony (2004-2005). In all these positions, Jens Flosdorff worked closely with Ursula von der Leyen. Prior to his public service career, he worked as a journalist in Hannover between 2000 and 2004.

Eric Mamer, a French national, is currently Director in charge of competitiveness and the European semester in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. His 25 years of experience in the Commission span various policy areas and management and communication positions, including deputy head of cabinet of Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger (2012-2016) on energy and on digital issues, head of unit in the Directorates-General for Budget and for Communication (2005-2012), and spokesman for two European Commissioners (1999-2004).

Dana Spinant, a Romanian national, is currently director in charge of budget, communication and general affairs in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. Before that, she was a head of unit in charge of irregular migration (2015-2017) and of drugs policy (2010-2014). Prior to joining the Commission, Dana Spinant worked for 15 years in journalism, including as editor and deputy editor of European Voice (2002-2009), deputy editor of EUobserver.com (2001-2002), as well as news director and Brussels correspondent for various Romanian TV channels.

Eric Mamer and Dana Spinant will start in their new positions once the von der Leyen Commission takes office – which according to the Treaties is 1 November 2019. The current team of the Spokesperson’s Service remains in charge until the end of the mandate of the Juncker Commission.

 

 


 

La Présidente élue von der Leyen annonce la composition de sa future équipe de relations avec les médias

 

Aujourd’hui, la Présidente élue a désigné le noyau de son équipe de relations médias: Jens Flosdorff en tant que Conseiller exécutif pour la communication au sein de son cabinet, responsable des activités médiatiques de la Présidente, Eric Mamer comme porte-parole en chef de la Commission européenne, et Dana Spinant comme porte-parole en chef adjointe.

 

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