My money's on Shriti Vadera being the next European Commissioner. Its such a no-brainer I don't know why I hadn't suggested it before. Now it looks as though Lord Mandelson has given Baroness Vadera his blessing. Its been leaked in the weekend pres that Gordon is thinking of nominating Shriti - a politician entirely of his making - rather than Geoff Hoon who had previously been the favourite. I had assumed that when he left government after the European elections, it was to pave the way to his nomination. But the prospect of an embassing defeat for Labour in Hoon's constituency if he was sent to Brussels was always going to be a dark cloud hanging over his chances. No such problem for Baroness Vadera - a member of the House of Lords. It helps that she is a woman. Barroso has said he wants more women to be nminated to his Commission. The current holder Baroness Ashton is also a woman of course but she has only ever been considered as an interim appointment to allow Brown pull off his masterstroke by bringing Mandelson into his government in 2008. Vadera will either get Trade or Competition.
What about the other names being considered by Member States across the EU? 20 of the 27 Commissioners could be new - so who could they be?
Lithuanian finance minister, Algirdas Semeta has already replaced Dalia Grybauskaitė, the EU budget Commissioner, after the latter was elected President of Lithuania last month. It is expected that Semeta will keep the budget portfolio in the new Commission.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has chosen Janusz Lewandowski, a member of the European Parliament (EPP-ED) who was re-elected in June, to replace Danuta Hübner, currently commissioner for regional policy, who herself also won a seat in the Euro-elections.
Other possible new Commissioners include the Former Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt (centre-right) who might take the Communication Strategy Commissioner Margot Wallstrom’s place. Industry Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen is retiring and there is equal support for rivals Peter Hinze (centre-right) and Martin Schluz (Socialist Group Leader). Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Jacques Barrot may have to stand aside to allow President Sarkozy to nominate French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier to be the new Commissioner for the Internal Market. Another candidate is the Chairman of the regulatory body for financial markets in France – Jean-Pierre Jouyet. Hence it is widely believed that the French are campaigning hard to get the Internal Market job which has been in the hands of the laissez-faire pro-free market Charlie McCreevy and the French have led the way in calling for tougher regulations in the sector.
I expect the Estonian, Siim Kalls to keep his job as Commissioner for Administrative Affairs. So too is Health Commissioner Androulla Vassilou from Cyprus. Italian Antonio Tajani, Transport Commissioner, is expected to be renominated but serve in a different role. Rather unusually, Viviane Reding is expected to serve a third term with the same portfolio after coming top in the European elections. Greek Stavros Dimas is also likely to stay. He wants to remain as the Environment Commissioner for as long as he keeps the responsibilities that are going to form part of a newly proposed DG for Climate Change. He faces a serious challenge from the UK if Gordon Brown cannot keep the Trade portfolio. Malta’s Joe Borg, the Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner wants to stay but may be replaced. Slovenia’s Janez Potocnik, Science Commissioner, may stay unless former PM Anon Rop wants the job. Finland has confirmed Olli Rehn, the enlargement Commissioner as its candidate – although he is rumoured to want the job as the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy once the Lisbon Treaty is ratified. Meglena Kuneva, the Consumer Affairs Commissioner from Bulgaria is almost certain likely to be re-nominated. Vladimir Spidla (socialist) the Employment Commissioner from the Czech Republic is also likely to stay despite a strong challenge from the Europe Minister Alexander Vondra (centre-right).
Spain’s Joaquin Almunia, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, may be called back to Madrid to become Finance Minister and could be replaced by fellow Socialist, Lopez Aguilar. Slovakia may replace Jan Figel, the Education Commissioner with Maros Sfcovic. Former Belgian PM, Yves Leterme may replace Louis Michel, the Development Commissioner since Michel is standing down. Nellie Kroes, the Competition Commissioner from the Netherlands is set to be replaced by NATO Secretary Japp de Hoop Scheffer or Europe Minister Frans Timmermans. There are a number of potential names for Ireland’s candidate following the announcement that Charlie McCreevy, Internal Market Commissioner is retiring. Among them are former PM John Bruton and former European Parliament President Pat Cox. The Austrian Benita Ferrero-Waldner, External Affairs Commissioner, is expected to be replaced by former federal chancellor, Wolfgang Schussel. Danish Mariann Fischer Boel, Agriculture Minister is expected to stand down as is Laszlo Kovacs, the Taxation Commissioner, from Hungary. So too is Romanian Leonard Oban, the Multilingualism Commisioner, and Andris Piebalgs, the Energy Commissioner from Latvia.