By Stefanos Evripidou
DISY MEP Christos Stylianides will be the next Cypriot in the new EU Commission headed by President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, it was revealed on Friday.
Following a series of interviews with each of the member states’ candidates for Commissioner, Juncker yesterday sent a list of Commissioners-designate to the current head of the EU Presidency, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, with Stylianides included on the list.
President Nicos Anastasiades had submitted two candidates for the job of Cypriot Commissioner: Stylianides (former government spokesman and current MEP) and Demetris Syllouris (MP and head of the government’s junior partner EVROKO).
Juncker chose Stylianides to replace Androulla Vassiliou as Cyprus’ representative in the 28-member Commission.
Vassiliou entered the Commission under outgoing President Jose Manuel Barroso in 2008, taking over the Health portfolio. Two years later, she was appointed EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Until Friday, the only sure name in the new Commission that will run from 2014 to 2019 is its president, Luxembourg’s Juncker, who was elected to the post by a strong majority of 422 votes in the European Parliament plenary session on July 15, 2014.
More recently, the European Council in agreement with Juncker appointed Federica Mogherini from Italy as a Commission vice-president and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The next steps now are for the EU Council to approve the list, after which Juncker will announce the distribution of portfolios and the way he intends to organise the work of the next European Commission, probably by Wednesday.
The commissioners-designate then have to pass traditionally quite gruelling hearings in the relevant European parliamentary committees.
Once the European Parliament has given its consent to the entire College of Commissioners, including the president and high representative, the European Council then formally appoints the European Commission, which starts work on November 1.
According to an unconfirmed report by EurActiv.com, Juncker plans to shake things up a bit in the Commission, splitting certain portfolios, removing others and creating new posts. The report has Juncker getting rid of the high profile post of Commissioner for Enlargement, an ominous signal to EU candidate country Turkey if true.
EurActiv also has Stylianides linked with a new post for Internet and Culture. However, a government source told the Cyprus Mail that nothing was certain yet, adding that the government’s preference is for the Cypriot commissioner to get a more “hardcore” posting.
Juncker’s Commission, as it now stands, has nine women, and a strong dose of political personalities, including five former prime ministers, 13 former ministers, six incumbent Commission members and a number of former MEPs.
Regarding political persuasions, 14 Commissioners-designate hail from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), eight from the Socialists and Democrats, five from the liberal ALDE family, and one is a British Conservative.
The proposed list of Commissioners-designate for the next Commission, in alphabetical order, are: Vytenis ANDRIUKAITIS (Lithuania); Andrus ANSIP (Estonia); Miguel ARIAS CAÑETE (Spain); Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS (Greece); Elżbieta BIEŃKOWSKA (Poland); Alenka BRATUŠEK (Slovenia); Corina CREŢU (Romania); Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (Latvia); Kristalina GEORGIEVA (Bulgaria); Johannes HAHN (Austria); Jonathan HILL (United Kingdom); Phil HOGAN (Ireland); Vĕra JOUROVÁ (Czech Republic); Jyrki KATAINEN (Finland); Cecilia MALMSTRÖM (Sweden); Neven MIMICA (Croatia); Carlos MOEDAS (Portugal); Pierre MOSCOVICI (France); Tibor NAVRACSICS (Hungary); Günther OETTINGER (Germany); Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ (Slovakia); Christos STYLIANIDES (Cyprus); Marianne THYSSEN (Belgium); Frans TIMMERMANS (Netherlands); Karmenu VELLA (Malta); and, Margrethe VESTAGER (Denmark).