Published: Tue, September 10, 2019
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Wildcards, headwinds as new European Union executive to take over

Wildcards, headwinds as new European Union executive to take over

Now it is up to the European Parliament to question the proposed candidates for the new Commission in detail.

Von der Leyen said in her first speech as EC Chair: "I want this European Commission to be a flexible, modern, agile Commission", at another point calling it a "geopolitical Commission" and a "guardian of multilateralism", "fully devoted to Europe, understanding it completely and listening to European needs".

"Of course, if Brexit does happen then the Trade Commissioner would be heavily involved in any negotiations on a future trading relationship between the European Union and UK", Kelly argued.

Former Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was nominated Tuesday to take the key role of European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, where he will oversee public spending in member states, most notably in Italy.

Her "college" of commissioners will take office on November 1, assuming they secure approval from the European Parliament - not a given after it only narrowly backed the German in July.

Hogan, now in charge of agriculture, will face a battle to resolve trade tensions with US President Donald Trump's administration and will be in charge of establishing future economic relations with Britain after Brexit.

Von der Leyen told a news conference that Timmermans would be the pointman in making Europe "the world's first climate-neutral continent".

Von der Leyen, previously Germany's defence minister, will be able to call on experienced hands on her team.

The traditional influence exerted by European Union heavyweights France and Germany will also be scrutinised, especially as President Emmanuel Macron has been carving out a more pronounced global leadership role while Chancellor Angela Merkel is to bow off the political stage in 2021.

"I congratulate Johannes Hahn on his new responsible role as EU Budget Commissioner".

On Monday, a source close to the Commission selection process acknowledged to AFP that von der Leyen has "some problems to work out" in configuring her team.

Earlier today, the vice president of the European Parliament said threats of a no deal Brexit "don't change the facts" that the United Kingdom has put forward no new proposals on the withdrawal deal.

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