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The position of Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs will return to France, following a report that appeared in Der Spiegel.
Pierre Moscovici’s candidacy for the position of Commissioner for Economic Affairs should be accompanied by a post of Vice-President for the Economy, which Jean-Claude Juncker would confer upon Jyrki Katainen, known for his exemplary austerity budget.
“Juncker wanted to escape the problems of Barroso, who was always reproached for his obedience to Germany. (Since) the opposition of Angela Merkel to the nomination of France for the post of Economic Affairs was a bit too strong, he has chosen to assert himself,” a European Commission source stated. In return, Germany could receive the post of Commissioner for Competition. This would be just as “paradoxical as the fact that France, with its debts, should have the post of Economic Affairs”, according to the same source.
The Competition portfolio has been in Germany’s sights all along, and would complement the equally inappropriate post offered to France.
Günther Oettinger, the candidate who has until now been at Energy, was originally destined for the post of Commissioner for Commerce, which would allow his country to weigh in on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. But Competition presents even higher stakes. Germany is undoubtedly the country with the most competition files under examination at the Commission, which could prove problematic.
According to the EU news and policy site EurActiv, Juncker plans to meet Pierre Moscovici in Brussels on Thursday, in order to confirm him in his new role. The hypothetical new Commission post to handle questions of investment remains in suspense; this portfolio could fall to Katainen, or be assigned to another Commissioner.
Juncker will present his new team next week (September 8-10). Among the points up for debate, it is possible that the United Kingdom could obtain the Internal Market portfolio, currently assigned to France. In this case, the UK would see financial services excluded from the classic remit of the portfolio.
However, the digital agenda, which until now has been in the hands of the Dutch Commissioner Neelie Kroes, would also be included in the post, which has been tailored specifically for the UK, whose Prime Minister, David Cameron, directly opposed the nomination of Juncker for the presidency of the Commission.
Amongst the other portfolios under discussion, Greece, whose coastal territory leaves it particularly exposed, will be entrusted with Immigration, while Kristalina Georgieva, the current Bulgarian commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid who was a strong candidate to replace Catherine Ashton as EU foreign affairs chief, is likely to become budget commissioner.