Wednesday, 10 September 2014

UK and France get powerful EU jobs

Juncker gives key EU economy jobs to UK and FranceMr Juncker has reshuffled some policy areas as priorities have changed
The UK will oversee financial services in the new 28-strong European Commission – a surprise appointment expected to please the UK government.

The job goes to Jonathan Hill, former leader of the House of Lords.
France also got a powerful post – ex-Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, a socialist, will run EU economic policy.
There has been intense national rivalry over the top jobs. There are seven vice-presidents for key areas such as growth, better regulation and energy.
Three of the seven powerful new posts have gone to women.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is giving details at a news conference now.
Levers of power
The team includes five former prime ministers, four deputy prime ministers and seven returning commissioners, appointed for a new five-year term.
The Commission is seen as the most powerful EU institution, as it drafts EU laws, ensures compliance with EU treaties and negotiates far-reaching trade deals with international partners.
It is the target of much hostility from Eurosceptics, who accuse Brussels of wasting taxpayers’ money and creating too many regulations, handicapping businesses.
EU officials say that having a detailed common rulebook, enforceable EU-wide, helps the single market by reducing national barriers.
The City of London dominates financial services in the EU, despite the UK being outside the euro. The appointment of Lord Hill is likely to please the City, as the UK prepares for a tricky renegotiation of powers with Brussels.
Lord Hill has been influential at Westminster but is little known in the EU
Mr Juncker, who served for many years as Luxembourg prime minister, said his choices were aimed at “breaking down silos and moving away from static structures”.
One of the new vice-presidents is the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini from Italy. She already has the approval of member states.
Mr Juncker called the new seven super commissioners “project vice-presidents”, who will co-ordinate key policy areas.
Frans Timmermans from the Netherlands “will be my right-hand man, more than just a colleague”, Mr Juncker said.
Mr Timmermans would ensure that each Commission proposal was “truly required”.
“We’ll be big hitters when we need to be big hitters but we’ll hold back when we’re talking about minor issues,” Mr Juncker said.
“The first vice-president will also act as a watchdog, upholding the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law in all of the Commission’s activities,” the Commission statement said.
Each country has a commissioner, but the EU tradition is for them to work in the interests of Europe as a whole, not to pursue national agendas.
Nevertheless, each country has its own priorities and often pushes strongly to get a particular post.
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