José Manuel Barroso unveiled his new team today.
Of course, the European Parliament will need to approve the new commission before they can take office, but I doubt there is anything or anybody so scandalously bad that they won’t.
That said, I’m not too impressed in general. Here are the ones I have some issues with:
- Joaquín ALMUNIA: Competition. Will he really be able to stand up to big business as past competition commissioners have done? I hope so, but he doesn’t seem to have much experience of industry.
- Michel BARNIER: Internal Market and Services. British newspapers are worried he’ll be bad for the City of London. I’m more worried whether he’s too close to the French government to stand up to them where they are distorting the internal market. I would have preferred the post to be filled by a candidate from a smallish country.
- Dacian CIOLOS: Agriculture and Rural Development. A Romanian to head agriculture, when Romania in general is against CAP reform, being a large country with lots of poor peasants? Perhaps not the best idea if Barroso intends to make progress on CAP reform.
- Neelie KROES: Digital Agenda. She did a great job as competition commissioner. This hardly looks like a promotion!
- Günter OETTINGER: Energy. Germany is very Russia-friendly when it comes to energy, so I find it doubtful that a German will be able to please the former communist member states. I think Barroso should have gone for somebody more neutral, that is, neither a German nor a Baltic commissioner.
Many of the other appointments are unproblematic, but I can’t help thinking that Barroso hasn’t set up his team for maximum impact.
Sometimes I really miss Delors!