Update on the new European Commission

On September 10th, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the nominees for the next College of Commissioners. Two weeks later, all designate candidates are being individually questioned by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in their respective Parliamentary Committees.

The ongoing process will take six days, ending with the hearings of the three Executive Vice-Presidents on Tuesday, October 8th: Danish Commissioner-designate Margrethe Vestager (Europe fit for the Digital Age & Competition), Dutch Commissioner-designate Frans Timmermans (European Green New Deal & Climate Action) and Latvian Commissioner-designate Valdis Dombrovskis (an Economy That Works For People & Financial Services).

On October 2nd, MEPs held the hearings of, among others, Belgian Commissioner-designate Didier Reynders (Justice porfolio) and French Commissioner-designate Sylvie Goulard (Internal Market portfolio). Should both nominees be confirmed, they will be responsible for topics relevant to our industry, e.g. data protection, consumer affairs, data flow, online platforms and AI.

Grilled by the Civil Liberties (LIBE) and Legal Affairs (JURI) committees, Didier Reynders faced questions ranging from rule of law, consumer policy to data protection and AI. Despite some references to certain allegations, the Belgian designate-Commissioner seemed confident on winning MEPs approval.

By contrast, France’s Sylvie Goulard did not manage to clear all legal and ethical concerns over past allegations about her lucrative relationship with a US think-tank and an ongoing French investigation over negligent use of public funds in her parliamentary office. Accordingly, she will have to answer additional written questions from MEPs in the coming days.

As a reminder, the Hungarian and Romanian nominees for the next Commission have already been blocked by the European Parliament due to conflict of interests. The Parliament is expected to vote on the entire Commission team during the next plenary session in Strasbourg that begins on October 21st. Should the Parliament confirm von der Leyen’s team, the new Commission will officially take office on November 1st.