Last week William Hague said that the appointment of Baroness Ashton as High Representative was the result of a deal done by Brown with the French to allow Sarkozy to secure the prized Internal Market post for his nomination Michel Barnier.
Whether a deal was done or not, Ashton’s appointment opened the way for the French to secure the job. This has implications for the City of London which faces a raft of EU regulatory measures. The French have been critical of the anglo-saxon model which they blame for the credit crisis and are more keen than the British on regulatory solutions to problems in the banking sector.
Along with France – the other winner is Belgium. Not only did they win the Council President job with the appointment of former PM Herman von Rompuy, they have also secured the powerful Trade job. Karel de Grucht who replaced his compatriot Louis Michel as Development Commissioner when Michel left to become an MEP in June, is a free-market neo-liberal.
Another winner is Germany. Although likely to be disappointed that they didn’t keep the Industry brief, they have taken the Energy Commissioner job with Gunter Oettinger as the replacement for Gunter Verheugen. Germany has a lot of commercial energy interests so should be delighted.
The Spanish too will be happy with getting the Competition portfolio – although there were expectations that their nomination would get Economic and monetary affairs.
I would argue that Finland is another winner. Ollie Rehn who was widely respected while the Commissioner for Enlargement, gets economic and monetary issues.
I understand that Antonio Tajani is not happy with the Industry and enterprise portfolio. I think he was keen to stay at Transport. However, he should be pleased that pharmaceutical controls have been transferred to him from Health to Industry.
Neelie Kroes will be disappointed at getting the new portfolio of digital policy. The only reason Dutch PM Balkenende appointed her (she is not a member of his CDA party) is because he was assured she would get competition again.
Sweden’s Cecillia Mallstrom gets Home Affairs. She is a liberal left wiinger and this will put her in contention with the more conservative Roman Catholic Viviane Reding from Luxembourg who gets the Justice portfolio. This policy enjoys a higher profile under Lisbon and so this policy area could lead to some controversy over the next 5 years.
Johannes Hahn from Austria is the new Regions Commissioner. Austria gets little EU regional funding so this is probably a good thing. ON the other hand Romania a big beneficiary of agricultural funds gets….. Agriculture (DAacian Ciolos who studied agriculture in France and did an internship in DG AGRI).
Barossohas gone ahead with his plan to create a Commissioner for Clime Action – this goes to the Danish Connie Hedegaarde – the Danes are proud of their tough line on climate change and Connie will be a tough taskmaster.
Androulla Vassiliou – moves from health to Education and Culture despite her best efforts to stay.