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The Brief: Day 5 hearings - the outspoken diplomat and digital defender

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The Brief: Day 5 hearings - the outspoken diplomat and digital defender
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REUTERS
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Day 5 - off to a late start with MEPs grilling two candidates with solid EU pedigrees. The outgoing Juncker cabinet Commissioner Vera Jourova (Czech Republic), who will be in charge of transparency and values (working alongside Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders) and a former European Parliament president Josep Borrell (Spain).

Below we have a breakdown on who they are and their route to Commissioner-designate.

Borrell - Foreign Affairs - Spain

Josep Borrell has been nominated to lead European diplomacy. At 72, the current Spanish foreign minister has a long political career. He was forged as a minister with Felipe González (in the 90s) and landed in Europe as president of the European Parliament. Default: he tends to say what he thinks

He treated Russia as an "old enemy" and has said that Washington acts in Venezuela as a "cowboy." Here's what he said about the independence of the United States:

"It was born practically without history. All they did was kill four Indians."

© European Union 2016 - Source : EP
Portrait of Josep BORRELL FONTELLES© European Union 2016 - Source : EP

He will have to face burning issues such as relations with China, Iran or the United States. More complicated will be to manage relations with the Balkans, since Spain has never recognized the independence of Kosovo. As a Catalan, he has advocated against independence. What has earned him some enmity. But in that, European, has always supported Spain.

More controversial is the fine of 30,000 euros that he had to pay for using privileged information in the sale of some shares.

Jourova - Values and Transparency - Czech Republic

The outgoing Czech commissioner for Justice, Consumer and Gender equality might be getting a promotion. Vera Jerouva could be become vice-president for values and transparency. Her portofolio would include issues like disinformation, election meddling and hate speech. For the American magazine TIME, the 55 year-old is one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019, in particular for passing and implementing General Data Protection Regulation.

Her fellow Commissioner Margrethe Vestager wrote a profile when she got this title saying: "After spending more than a month in a Czech jail on false corruption charges in 2006, Vera Jourova decided to delve into European law to understand how such injustice could be committed".

Her appointment probably reflects the desire of Ursula van der Leyen to have more women in her Commission and improve relations with the Visegrad Four countries.

The Czech politician will police Rule of Law jointly with Belgian Didier Reynders. The current commission had many clashes with Central and East European member-states over this issue.

Jourova belongs to the same liberal political party as her countries' Prime Minister Andrej Babic. He faced critisism over alleged misuse of EU funds by his company. However she is perceived in Brussels as mostly independent figure from domestic politics.