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22.10.2014
News

Commission Test

Blog on the nominations and hearings for the new Commission

Welcome to our blog. It will provide you with the Greens/EFA analysis of the proposed EU commissioners, their remits and the hearings, as well as links to the livestreams of the hearings themselves.
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Hearings

 

Wednesday 22.10.2014
Press release - Greens not convinced by overall package of Juncker College

The Greens/EFA group today voted against the Juncker Commission because they are not convinced the overall package and policy direction presented by president Juncker is what is needed re-establish the trust of our citizens in the nascent European democracy. The Greens/EFA believe he has got the priorities wrong ...

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Wednesday 22.10.2014
Plenary speech by Rebecca Harms - Presentation of the College of Commissioners and their programme

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Monday 20.10.2014
Greens/EFA motion for a resolution on the election of the Commission

The Green/EFA welcome Mr Juncker’s efforts to build a more political Commission and shares many of the president-elect’s concerns regarding the dire state of the Union today. Nevertheless our Group considers that this College has got the priorities wrong; that the overall composition, the allocation of key-portfolios and above all the policy direction are not what Europeans need to face Europe’s deep social and environmental crisis and meet the challenges of this century.

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Monday 20.10.2014 - 19:00-22:00
Violeta BULC - Transport

    Passable performance but substandard on key green issues
    Greens/EFA Transport coordinator Karima Delli assesses commissioner-designate for transport, Violeta Bulc

    Given the time Mrs. Bulc had to prepare, her performance was passable. She displayed an open, straight-forward attitude and showed some knowledge on transport policy. However, her answers on all key green issues she was asked about were substandard.

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    Monday 20.10.2014 - 19:00-22:00
    Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ – Energy Union

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    Tuesday 14.10
    Second Greens/EFA letter to Mr Juncker on sustainability in the new European Commission

    In a first letter dated 26 September, Greens/EFA expressed their concerns about the political priorities for the new College, underlining the inconsistency of any economic policy that does not have sustainability as its central focus. While no response was received from Mr Juncker, the Greens/EFA have learned that Vice-President Frans Timmermans wil have ‘sustainable development’ added to the responsibilities under his portfolio.

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    Monday 13.10
    Greens/EFA letter to Mr Juncker about possible new authorisations of genetically modified organisms by the outgoing European Commission

    The Greens/EFA group has written to incoming Commission president Juncker asking that he intervene to ensure there are no new authorisations of genetically modified organisms by the outgoing European Commission. The initiative comes on the back of news that EU trade commissioner De Gucht is seeking to secure 8 new GMO authorisations, with a view to convincing the United States authorities to ease restrictions on some imports from the EU.

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    Thursday 09.10
    About-turn on Medicines Agency ensures patients remain the priority

    Some welcome news today as it has been announced that the European Medicines Agency will remain with the directorate general for health and consumers. This agency is responsible for the evaluation and supervision of medicines in the EU and President-elect Juncker had tried to shift responsibility for it to the EU Commission's directorate general for enterprise. A similar attempt was made in 2009 but this was unsuccessful. We wrote to Mr. Juncker to present the real concerns that the regulation of medicines would be approached from a predominantly commercial perspective, instead of with a view to prioritising the interests of patients. Thankfully, this move has now been reversed

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    Wednesday 08.10
    Cosy deal ensures problematic candidates get green light in spite of theatrics

    Statement by Bas Eickhout after the vote

    Statement by Claude Turmes after the vote

    The relevant European Parliament committees voted on the remaining candidates for the European Commission for whom decision had been outstanding. The Greens/EFA group expressed regret that a pre-agreed deal between the bigger groups in the European Parliament meant some majorly problematic candidates were approved, despite not having resolved the issues they were facing.

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    TUESDAY 07.10

    Tuesday 07.10 14:30-17:30
    Frans TIMMERMANS - Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights

    Statement of Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts following the hearing of Commissioner-designate Frans Timmermanns:

    "Frans Timmermans is undeniably a competent politician and a man of conviction. Unlike many of the other candidates heard by Parliament, he has the calibre necessary to join the European Commission and become its number two. His commitment to ensure all Member States comply with fundamental rights is encouraging.  However, there are other aspects of his agenda, brought to light by his past statements, which remain worrying:  has he in fact come to Brussels to weaken, in the name of subsidiarity and cutting red tape, the EU’s ability to regulate markets and multinationals?  We will be paying close attention to this area."

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    Tuesday 07.10.2014  13:00-14:30
    Additional hearing - Jonathan HILL - Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

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    Tuesday 07.10 10:00-13:00
    Jyrki KATAINEN - Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

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    MONDAY 6 OCTOBER 2014

    Monday 06.10 18:30-21:30
    Andrus ANSIP - Digital Single Market

    Jan Philipp Albrecht assesses Andrus Ansip

    Julia Reda assesses Andrus Ansip

    Greens/EFA MEP Julia Reda Hausling gives our assessment of Commissioner designate Andrus Ansip. He seemed well informed about most topics addressed in the hearing, especially when compared to the hearing with Günther Oettinger, the other Commissioner on digital affairs.

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    Monday 06.10
    Vote in Legals Affairs Committee on Arias Cañete - The fossil fuel lobbies have nothing to worry about

    The European Parliament's Legal affairs committee today met behind closed doors at the request of the committees dealing with issues of energy and climate to urgently review Miguel Arias Cañete declaration of financial interests. Commenting on this meeting, Greens/EFA MEP Pascal Durand stated:

    Developments tonight represent a major setback for a democratic and transparent Europe. The oil lobbies have nothing to worry about, as they clearly have strong allies in the European Parliament.

    The Legal affairs committee, which held an emergency meeting tonight to review any potential conflicts of family interests with regard to Mr Cañete candidacy, contented itself, at the request of its Chair and a majority of the two major groups in the Parliament European, with simply carrying out a formal review of Mr Cañete statements.

    The Legal affairs committee, despite a demand from the Greens which was supported by MEPs committed to transparency and the idea of an exemplary federal Europe, refuses to perform the least of its duties, which is to check whether a commissioner in charge of issues of energy and climate can be directly involved, through his family, in oil companies.

    It is now up to the parliamentary committees concerned with climate and energy issues to decide."

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    Monday 06.10 18:30-21:30
    Federica MOGHERINI
    High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy - Vice- President

    Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler gives our assessment of the hearing of proposed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. All in all, Federica Mogherini left a rather positive impression. She was able to answer most questions and showed good knowledge of the different dossiers. However, on many issues including a few raised by the Greens, she remained quite vague and imprecise.

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    Monday 06.10
    Culture committee says Tibor Navracsics not suitable for Culture, Education and Civil Society portfolio

    The European Parliament's Culture Committee voted tonight that Commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsics (Hungary) was not suitable for the culture, education and civil society portfolio.

    Green MEP Michel Reimon commented:

    "Navracsics" participation in the Orbán government, responsible for a very controversial and problematic media law led a majority of the committee to find him unsuitable for the portfolio of culture, education and civil society. Navracsics was indeed confirmed today as Commissioner, but not for the portfolio Mr. Juncker assigned him.

    Clearly, Hungary may provide a Commissioner, as any other country. Nevertheless, Parliament must not accept any candidate for any position - otherwise the hearings have no meaning. In this sense, a majority has acted and decided."

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    Monday 06.10 14:30-17:30
    Valdis DOMBROVSKIS - Euro and Social Dialogue

    A lesson well recited

    Sven Giegold, Jean Lambert and Monika Vana assess commissioner-designate Dombrovskis

    At first glance, Valdis Dombrovskis made an acceptable performance during his hearing. But when you scratch the surface his presentation seemed more like a well-rehearsed recital of a neoliberal version of a Juncker lesson. It remains to be seen if his prolific use of social trigger words will now be turned into commitments and actions.

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    Monday 06.10 14:30-17:30
    Alenka BRATUSEK - Energy Union

    Mrs. Bratusek's perfomance today leaves us in the fog. Imprecise, not prepared and unclear are the words that come to mind following the hearing. Watch Green MEP Claude Turmes' initial reaction

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    THURSDAY 02.10.2014

    Thursday 02.10 18:00-21:00
    Margarethe VESTAGER - Competition

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    Thursday 02.10 13:30-16:30
    Kristalina GEORGIEVA - Budget and Human Resources

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    Thursday 02.10 13:30-16:30
    Elzbieta BIENKOWSKA - Internal Market, Industry, SMEs & Entrepreneurship

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    Thursday 02.10 9:00-12:00
    Pierre MOSCOVICI - Economic & Financial Affairs, Taxation & Customs Union

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    Thursday 02.10 9:00-12:00
    Phil HOGAN - Agriculture and Rural Development

    Green MEP Martin Hausling gives our assessment of Commissioner designate Phil Hogan. Great showmanship during the hearings but the content of his answers represents a truly awful perspective for the future of small farmers and rural communities.

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    WEDNESDAY 01.10.2014

    Wednesday 01.10.2014  18:00 - 21:00
    Miguel Arias Cañete - Climate Action and Energy

    Cañete: not fit for the job

    Green MEPs Bas Eickhout and Claude Turmes deem energy and climate commissioner-designate Cañete unsuitable. He has failed to allay the serious concerns about the conflicts of interest regarding his nomination as EU climate and energy commissioner, notably the continued involvement of his brother-in-law in the oil industry. For the Greens/EFA group, his candidacy is clearly untenable.

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    Wednesday 01.10.2014  18:00 - 21:00
    Tibor NAVRACSICS - Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship

    He is a very talkative and eloquent person, but absolutely not ready for any self criticism and not ready to admit his role in the introduction of the media freedom hobbling law in Hungary. He was not concrete on any point and misunderstood some questions (...)

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    Wednesday 01.10.2014  13:30-16:30
    Jonathan HILL - Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

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    Wednesday 01.10.2014  13:30-16:30
    Vĕra JOUROVA - Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

    Vera Jourová did not explain how she would defend her portfolio within the Commission itself. However, she demonstrated clear awareness of the current state of the political process of key dossiers in her agenda (...)

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    Wednesday 01.10.2014  09:00-12:00
    Corina CRETU
    - Regional Policy

    Under Vice-President Katainen' s supervision?

    Ms. Cretu was good on the content and general line of her portfolio while also very open. She has experience as an MEP and wants to cooperate with the European Parliament, and in general continue the line of her predecessor Johannes Hahn. She was however weak on important topics for us such as the Green Economy, Green Jobs and Public Services (...)

    • Read the Greens/EFA assessment of the hearing of Corina CRETU

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    Wednesday 01.10.2014  09:00-12:00
    Marianne THYSSEN - Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014

     

    Tuesday 30.09.2014  18:00-21:00
    Christos STYLIANIDES - Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014  18:00-21:00
    Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ - Transport and Space

    Mr ŠEFČOVIČ performed better than expected and had a surprisingly detailed knowledge of a broad range of issues. He clearly is an experienced diplomat and avoided difficult questions skilfully. His emphasis on social issues, enforcement and transport safety was welcomed. However, (...)

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014  13:30-16:30
    Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS - Migration and Home Affairs

    Experienced Politician

    Green MEP Judith Sargentini gives a cautiously positive assessment of the EP hearing with Dimitris Avramopoulos and Migration and Home Affairs under the new Commission.

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014  13:30-16:30
    Johannes HAHN - Neighbourhood policy and Enlargement

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014  9:00-12:00
    Vytenis ANDRIUKAITIS - Health and Food Safety

    Our health and food in safe hands?

    He clearly is very committed to addressing threats to health. He is authentic, sincere, very energetic and eager to do the right thing, but probably a bit naïve about what he can achieve in the new Commission. He has a good general understanding of health issues, as well as expert knowledge on certain issues due to his background as a medical specialist (...)

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    Tuesday 30.09.2014  9:00-12:00
    Carlos MOEDAS - Research, Science and Innovation

    A smooth but maybe too cautious operator

    Mr Moedas certainly is an experienced politician and a smooth operator. He avoided the danger zones. He did not trip up, did not offend, he told a convincing European story about himself. Where he stands on a lot of issues of substance remains to be seen. He was too cautious to commit to specific positions. (...)

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    Monday 29.09.2014

    Monday 29.09.2014   18:30-21:30
    Neven MIMICA - International Cooperation and Development

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    Monday 29.09.2014   18:30-21:30
    Günther OETTINGER - Digital Economy and Society

     Reaction coming soon

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    Monday 29.09.2014   14:30-17:30
    Karmenu VELLA 
    - Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Fit for the job of environment and fisheries commissioner?

    Greens/EFA environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout and fisheries spokesperson Isabella Lövin give their assessment of the European Parliament hearing with Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner-designate for the environment and fisheries.
    His performance as such was ok, but he certainly did not give the impression of being committed to or wanting to fight for environment protection. He explicitly refrained from making any commitments (...)

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    Monday 29.09.2014   14:30-17:30
    Cecilia MALMSTRÖM - Trade

    New trade Commissioner ?

    According to Greens/EFA trade coordinator Yannick Jadot, Cecilia Malmström was obviously well briefed on the trade dossier. But unfortunately, she has fallen completely into the line and footsteps of her predecessor, Karel de Gucht.
    She recited briefings from the EU Commission's directorate general for trade too frequently and did not open any new perspective on trade policy (...)

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    Letters to Mr Juncker, President-elect

    26.09.2014 - Sustainability and the environment under Team Juncker - Open letter

    With the European Parliament set to vet the College of Commissioners proposed by president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, Greens/EFA group co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts give a sceptical assessment of Team Juncker and its possible implications for EU policy in key areas like sustainable growth and the environment.

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    24.09.2014 - Letter from Greens/EFA Co-Presidents on Commissioner-designate Miguel Arias Cañete

    The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament has written to European Commission president-elect Juncker to highlight concerns with commissioner-designate Miguel Arias Cañete's candidacy, notably as regards certain conflicts of interest. Despite the gravity of the accusations, Mr. Juncker's bureaucratic 3-line response does not address these concerns in the least.

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    Reactions to the presentation of the candidates

    High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy

    Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler assess the proposed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. The initial impression is positive and her commitment to the need to engage globally for the protection of human rights is encouraging. The challenge will be how to ensure the External Action Service and Commission have a coherent approach on human rights issues.

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    Fisheries and nature under Team Juncker

     

    Green MEP Isabella Lövin assesses the proposed Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. There are clear concerns about the choice of merging environment and fisheries into one portfolio and making one commissioner responsible for areas that previously were the charge of individual commissioners. Furthermore, neither of the two "super-commissioners". Mr. Vella is to report to have been given the remit by Jean-Claude Juncker of defending the environment in cases of conflict between growth and environmental protection. A worrying situation.

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    Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship &
    Migration and Home Affairs

    Greens/EFA MEP Judith Sargentini assesses the proposed Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and proposed Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. To call the choice of nominees and their portfolios provocative would be an understatement. Mr. Navracsis played a role in a government that infringes basic democratic freedoms. Meanwhile, Mr. Avramopoulos, a prominent member of a government criticised for lack of action on migration, will have to come forward with concrete steps to address the tragedies surrounding 'boat migration'.

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    Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

     

    Greens/EFA MEP Molly Scott Cato assesses the proposed Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Jonathan Hill. Already being referred to as a "poacher turned gamekeeper", Mr.Hill will have to answer serious questions about his independence, his commitment to the post and about how exactly his nomination came about.

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    Climate Action and Energy

    Greens/EFA MEP Claude Turmes assesses proposed Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete. Mr Cañete will have a lot to clarify during the hearings and there are fears that combining the Climate Action and Energy portfolios will only lead to a further downgrading of the EU's commitment to climate action. There are also some questions over Alenka BratuÅ¡ek, whom Mr Cañete would report to under the new Commission structure.

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    Health and Food Safety

    Greens/EFA MEP Bart Staes assesses proposed Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. His medical background is a plus but there are concerns about the brief he has been given which views the portfolio from a too narrow commercial perspective.

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    Digital agenda, copyright and privacy

    Greens/EFA MEPs Julia Reda and Jan Philipp Albrecht assesses proposed commissioners Vĕra Jourová, Günther Oettinger and Andrus Ansip. Despite seeing the proposals as curious and eyebrow raising, they keep an open mind.

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    Employment, Social affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

    Green MEP Jean Lambert assesses proposed commissioner Marianne Thyssen. The main question for the nominee must be how will she ensure the sustainable transformation of the economy and society?

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    10.09.2014 - 18:00
    Video - Reaction from Co-Presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts

    10.09.2014 - 13:00
    Statement from Co-Presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts

    After months of rumours and intrigue, we now finally have the proposals from EU Commission president-elect Juncker on the new European Commission - #TeamJunckerEU. For our group, we have been keenly awaiting Jean Claude Juncker's proposals as this will give us a more clear indication of what kind of direction he wants to take Europe.

    For us, it is very important to point out that this is just a proposal. The proposed commissioners must now be fully scrutinised and vetted by the European Parliament and MEPs must not be afraid to say no to problematic or inappropriate candidates. These proposals must not simply be waived through Parliament as part of another political deal between the big groups.

    First the proposed commissioners will face hearings in the relevant committees in the European Parliament and, after the hearings, MEPs must decide whether to say yes or no to the team as a whole. Our group will play a constructive role in the forthcoming hearings in the European Parliament and will only draw a definitive conclusion after these hearings. However, it is already possible to make an initial assessment.

    What is certainly welcome is that Juncker clearly wants a more political and empowered Commission, which is not afraid of standing up to national governments. This is what Europe badly needs. The decision to put political heavyweights in the so-called super-commissioner positions is positive on the face of it. However, in practise this will only be positive if Team Juncker pushes for a more democratic, just, open and sustainable EU. 

    It is regrettable that in some cases national and party interests seem once again to have been more important than competence. A prime example is the decision to propose Lord Hill as financial services commissioner, this poacher-turned-gamekeeper approach is clearly not what is needed in this sensitive area. We also have doubts about the suitability of Tibor Navracsics as commissioner in charge of citizenship. We are also concerned about the proposal to merge the energy and climate change portfolios, which we fear is a downgrading of the EU's commitment to climate action at a crucial juncture.

    The fact there are only 9 female commissioners is a major source of disappointment and will mean that, despite championing gender equality across Europe, the EU Commission itself will make no progress from its past term. This is no reflection on President Juncker, who put a lot of effort into ensuring gender balance. Despite the fact that there is no shortage of excellent and highly-qualified women in EU member states, getting national governments to propose female candidates was like squeezing blood from a stone. If this College is to be approved, President Juncker must commit to ensuring he will use all means to raise the number of female commissioners during his term.

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    05.09.2014
    Possible merger of climate and energy portfolios in new Commission rumoured

    On Thursday, 4 September, a cross-political group of MEPs including Green members wrote to incoming Commission President Jean Claude Juncker to warn him about the decision to merge the energy and climate change portfolios.

    Read more: