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Right and centre right names dominate EU finance jobs


European Commission President elect Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President elect Jean-Claude Juncker


European Commission President elect Jean-Claude Juncker

French Socialist and former finance minister Pierre Moscovici has been named European economic and monetary policy commissioner, in a surprise move by centre-right Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

But the main economic portfolios in the new Commission have gone to predominantly north European politicians from the centrist European Peoples Party (EPP) grouping, which includes Fine Gael, and the fiscally right-wing Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). In a key concession to British Prime Minister David Cameron's nominee Jonathan Hill, a member of the UK House of Lords, to the revamped banking portfolio entitled Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

Putting the UK commissioner in charge of relations between the EC and the European Banking Authority is a significant victory for David Cameron, who has been at loggerheads with much of the rest of Europe over a planned financial transactions tax.

The relative importance of the banking and insurance sector in the City of London dwarfs financial services across most of Europe, with the exception of Jean-Claude Juncker's home country of Luxembourg.

While Pierre Moscovici takes the key portfolio of economic and monetary policy his room for maneouvre may be constrained , appointments from the centre right in the shape former Finnish prime minister Jyrki Kataine who becomes vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness and former Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president for the euro and Social Dialogue. Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager will be in charge of the powerful competition, while former Slovenian prime minister Alenka Bratusek, also a liberal, will oversee the EU's plan to create an energy union.

Another liberal, Sweden's Cecilia Malmstrom, takes on negotiation of the world's biggest trade agreement between the United States and Europe.

Elzbieta Bienkowska (EPP) of Poland is named as commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small business.

Miguel Arias Caneta (EPP) of Spain will be energy and climate change commissioner.

Germany's Guenther Oettinger, a party political ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responsibility for the digital economy, including the wider telecoms market.

Elzbieta Bienkowska (EPP) of Poland is named as commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small business.

Balancing the ticket somewhat is Frans Timmermans, of the Dutch Labour Party as commission vice president in charge of better regulation.

The new Commission is due to take office in November, subject to its confirmation by the European Parliament.

Belgium's Marianne Thyssen (EPP) who was only named as her country's nominee to the Commission last week has been appointed to the Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility portfolio.

She may well prove a big winner in an anticpated shift in European policy away from the focus on austerity that characterised the Commission of Jose Manuel Barroso.

In the past, European efforts to stimulate the economy have focused heavily on re-training and so called "activation" programmes for the young and the long term unemployed.

The new Juncker Commission includes five former prime ministers, four deputy prime ministers and 19 former ministers, including Ireland's Phil Hogan who gets agriculture.

A third of the Commissioners, nine out of 28 are women, including three out of the seven commission vice-presidents.

Overall, 14 of commissioners are from the EPP, eight from the left-leaning Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats, five from ALDE, plus one Conservative.

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