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Who's Who, Who's New In Brussels
September 10, 2014 16:32 GMT
There's a new European Commission in town. And with the changing of the guard in Brussels, we asked RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent, Rikard Jozwiak, to take a look at some of the new faces.
Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg, president:
The former long-serving prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of the Eurogroup, which oversees the eurozone. Credited with being one of the architects of the European common currency, he is accused of being too federalist by some.
Frans Timmermans, the Netherlands, first vice president:
Perhaps best known for his
emotional UN speech
that ushered in strong sanctions against Russia following the downing of the MH17 airliner. The former Dutch foreign minister was in the running to become EU foreign policy chief but will now be in charge of "better regulations" on the European Commission.
Kristalina Georgieva, Bulgaria, vice-president in charge of EU budget:
Considered the people's favorite to succeed Catherine Ashton as the EU's top diplomat, Georgieva gained a reputation as a competent humanitarian aid commissioner and World Bank official. She will now be in charge of how much EU money is being spent, and where.
Andrus Ansip, Estonia, vice president in charge of digital single market:
After serving as prime minister for tech-savvy Estonia for almost a decade, Ansip now sets his sights on boosting the EU's use of Internet technologies.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvia, vice president in charge of euro currency:
As prime minister, he led his country through a terrible recession by insisting on savage austerity measures. His methods could send shivers down the spines of eurozone bailout recipients.
Jyrki Katainen, Finland, vice president in charge of competitiveness, jobs, and growth:
A former prime minister with an impressive economic portfolio. Considered a favorite of Angela Merkel, he might even be more of a fiscal hawk than the German chancellor.
Alenka Bratusek, Slovenia, vice president responsible for energy:
The former Slovenian prime minister will now be in charge of complicated negotiations with Ukraine and Russia regarding the flow of Russian gas to the EU. Other tough topics she will have to grapple with concern the future of the South Stream pipeline and the extraction of shale gas in the EU.
Federica Mogherini, Italy, vice president in charge of EU foreign policy:
She has been accused of being too close to Moscow and questions have been raised about her foreign policy experience, seeing as she only became foreign minister in Italy in February. Nevertheless, Mogherini overcame the deep suspicions of several eastern member states and was selected by EU heads of state to succeed Ashton as the EU foreign policy chief.
Johannes Hahn, Austria, EU neighborhood and enlargement negotiations:
A low-key member of the previous commission, in which he was in charge of the EU's regional policy. With Juncker indicating that there won't be any enlargements during this five-year mandate, his job consists of keeping the thorny negotiations going. Accused of having plagiarized his Ph.D. thesis.
Margrethe Vestager, Denmark, EU competition:
Potentially one of Brussels' strongest cards to play against Moscow, the former Danish economy minister will face a tough decision regarding the European Commission's investigation into suspected market abuses by Gazprom on the EU internal market.
Cecilia Malmstrom, Sweden, EU trade:
She faces the difficult task of ensuring that the EU and the U.S. strike a new free-trade agreement that has been criticized by many, especially after the NSA spying scandal.
Pierre Moscovici, France, economic and financial affairs:
The former French finance minister's general economic portfolio will balance out some of the austerity hawks on the European Commission.
Jonathan Hill, United Kingdom, financial services (shown here with Jean-Claude Juncker on the left):
In an attempt to appease euroskeptics in Britain, the former leader of the House of Lords will be in charge of something that truly matters to London -- financial services.
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