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The 27 commissioners receive their school bags

(B2 Archive) Assigning a portfolio to each of the 26 other European commissioners will undoubtedly have caused a few phone calls and long discussions with José-Manuel Barroso, the president of the European executive. But no big drama

Admittedly, the majority of the names on his list will mean nothing to Europeans. But the important thing is not fame but often the potential for action, possibly knowledge of issues, and above all respect for the major balances. In this area, there are few surprises.

Most states have obtained the portfolio corresponding to their expectations or their national interests. As expected, and hoped for, the French Michel Barnier thus recovers the Internal Market. A key position because it is a question of ensuring both the proper regulation of the market and of services, in particular financial services. A precept forgotten by his predecessor, the Irishman Charlie McCreevy. And a hexagonal claim. More than a year ago. Nicolas Sarkozy was already thinking about this post. He had thus confided to several journalists stationed in Brussels that he wanted an economic post “ away for “his” commissioner.

On his left, the French will find the Spanish commissioner Joaquin Almunia, socialist, who will be in charge of the powerful competition portfolio. And on his right, the Belgian commissioner, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel de Gucht, in charge of Trade, as well as the Finnish Commissioner, Olli Rehn, in charge of the Economy and the Currency. This quartet, - whatever their political label - symbolizes a subtle shift from a Europe with a liberal aim to a " Europe that protects dear to the French. As for the highly coveted Energy portfolio, it was entrusted to a German, Günther Oettinger, better known in his Land of Baden-Württemberg than elsewhere. He " needed a person able to get along with the Russians had warned those close to Barroso. Moscow can be reassured!

Fishing and maritime affairs were entrusted to a Greek, Maria Damanaki, who is rather new to the field. “But she will learn”, the key phrase. As for Agriculture, entrusted to a specialist in the field, the Romanian Ciolos of Dacia. It allows... Brittany to also have 'its' commissioner, Ciolos having studied in Rennes.

The new Commission must now work hard to pass the ultimate test. The " great oral before the European Parliament is scheduled for mid-January. Beware of bad students...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)
Published in Ouest-France on November 28, 2009

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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