New EU Chief Treads Carefully As She Builds Team
Brussels, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Aug, 2019 ) :While others spend August on the beach, EU president-elect Ursula von der Leyen works on the delicate task of building a team to run the bloc's executive for the next five years.
Each EU state gets to nominate one person to serve on the European Commission, and von der Leyen's executive will have only 27 members instead of the current 28 because of Britain's withdrawal from the EU -- expected on October 31.
She is still waiting for six countries to name their candidates: France, Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Portugal and Romania, which have until August 26, the deadline imposed by the European Council, to appoint representatives.
"The unknown will be Italy," said a source close to von der Leyen.
She visited Rome in early August, but deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini's decision to pull his far-right League party out of a ruling coalition with the Five Star Movement (M5S) complicates the appointment of the new Italian commissioner.
Twelve men and eight women have already been put forward, according to an AFP count based on official announcements.
A member of von der Leyen's team pointed out that "the nominated candidates will not necessarily be the new commissioners".
Outgoing commission president Jean-Claude Juncker recently said that he had refused six candidates, and parliament then forced him to reshuffle his team in 2014 to grant him the nomination.
The constitution of the new commission is a "complex and politically sensitive" exercise, because many member states are demanding economic portfolios, the most prestigious, according to a member of the new president's team.
Chosen by the European Council, von der Leyen's room for manoeuvre is also limited because the Council, which groups the 28 EU heads of state and government, has imposed two vice-presidents.
They are the Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans and the liberal Margrethe Vestager, and the Council has insisted they be given important responsibilities.