Politics’ requital over Europe’s government

Presented the Commission headed by the Luxembourgian political leader. Combating red tape, "real economy", growth

The simpatico-operation is almost always successful for Jean-Claude Juncker, experienced ex premier from Luxembourg. A conservative of Christian-Democrat formation, son a steelworker, over the past 30 years Juncker ascended the national and European political ladder with fine diplomatic and oratory skills. Presenting the next EU Commission on September 10, of which he was elected President, he did not refrain from witticisms: "A first Vice-President? Why not, he could replace me in case of physical- or mental – illness"; "I have introduced a revolution in the Executive’s mode of working, and for this I will speak in French!" "I spent the whole month of August on the phone to have nine women on board."Indeed, without his diplomatic art, cunning smiles and his experience in obstacle races, Juncker would still be at the starting-post, restrained – in the composition of the College – by national interests, by European parties’ ambitions, by the hither and thither on the allocation of seats, the issue of gender equality, and even by the querelle on rigour/flexibility. But now we have a result: the "team" was set up. Now the question is how to overcome Commissioner-designates’ insidious auditions before the European Parliament and convince the majority of MEPs to give the green light to the Juncker Commission, due to replace that of José Manuel Barroso as of November 1st.Compared to the past, are discontinuity signals perceivable? Are new paths glimpsed on the horizon? Has Juncker considered the burdensome obstacles that the EU is called to face, requiring short-term answers and immediate results? Indeed, the economic downturn, unemployment, Ukraine’s instability, the Balkan steam engine, Mediterranean migrations certainly don’t wait for the EU and its 28 member Countries to make up their minds on seats assignments…A preliminary glance at the Executive’s programme, on its working method (the announcement of Project-Teams), as well as the stature of men and women chosen as members of the College signal a change in pace. Juncker wages war on bureaucracy, he wants a "slimmer" Europe, a Europe that "works less but better", focusing on the subsidiarity principle. In order to give dynamicity to the Executive he created new macro-areas – namely, working teams each of which is coordinated by a vice-President, so as to increase collegiality in the Commission’s strategies for example in the sector of energy, digital agenda, economy and finance, and foreign affairs. If no conflict in the attribution of competences should arise, and "who does what" becomes clear, the Juncker-method is likely to deliver constructive results.Another laudable innovation is the creation of a special portfolio for migrations (for legal and illegal migration). The emphases placed on the areas of real economy, employment and "social dialogue", correspond to an equal number of portfolios, in the acknowledgement that citizens expect tangible fruits, a job and an income to lead a dignified life, opportunities for the young generations, health protection, a "clean" environment in which to live, safe borders. From this perspective Juncker winks at citizens, and to a large number of governments by saying: we’re still in the midst of the crisis, but lights are to be seen at the end of the tunnel. For this reason "employment and growth deserve the greatest commitment." Many European citizens had largely anticipated these words.It is equally important not to underestimate Juncker’s attention towards a significant presence of women in his team. "I started with just three female candidates at the end of July. Now I stand here with 9 – as many as in the Barroso Commission", "it is not an advance in gender equality", because women commissioners are a third – not half – of the total number, "but I consider it a good outcome to begin with", especially because, Juncker explained, "key portfolios will be under the responsibility of female candidates", such as Foreign affairs, Trade, Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Competition and Internal Market and Industry.Finally, the Juncker-équipe will also have a strongly "political" connotation. Almost all Commissioners have held positions as Prime Ministers, Ministers or MEPs. Many of them have an extensive experience in the financial and economic sector, or in international politics. In the current circumstances these are the most urgent areas of intervention. It can be imagined that in Brussels, politics with a capital P is gaining the upper hand over mere "technical" skills and over "eurocracy." But it’s still too early to reach conclusions.

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