Replacement commissioners sail through
The candidates to replace the four commissioners who took their seats as MEPs passed through hearings on Monday in the European Parliament which is due to vote on their appointments on Wednesday.
Four former Commissioners took their MEP seats on 1 July having resigned from the EU executive. They are replaced by fellow-nationals.
Vice President Viviane Reding, Luxembourg, responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, is replaced by Martine Reicherts, until now a Commission Director General and a veteran in EU affairs.
Vice President Antonio Tajani, Italy, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, is replaced by Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, a career diplomat.
Vice President Olli Rehn, Finland, responsible for economic and monetary affairs and the euro is replaced by Jyrki Katainen who resigned as Prime Minister on June 16 to take a job as a replacement commissioner and stay on in the Juncker team.
Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, Poland, responsible for financial programming and the budget, is replaced by Jacek Dominik, a former Deputy Minister of Finance.
The hearing that attracted most media attention was Katainen’s, mainly because he is expected to stay on in the next EU executive.
“We need to restore confidence to attract investments”, he said in his speech, adding that he believed in creating jobs, but not by increasing the deficit, because in his words nobody would be ready to lend money for that purpose.
“Only by implementing structural changes do you gain confidence. The private sector needs to be encouraged to invest on our continent and we have to use public money more effectively, for example by investing in R&D, green growth and SMEs,” Katainen said.
On the Troika, he noted that its members are accountable to lenders, but he promised to consider how the Parliament and Commission could improve their cooperation so that the Parliament also has a say in Troika work, through the Commission.