The Brief: Day 6 hearings - old hands, new jobs

The Brief: Day 6 hearings - old hands, new jobs
Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By Jack Parrock, Stefan Grobe, Isabel Silva
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The VPs face MEPs - Vestager, who made her name fighting big tech, Timmermans who will be in charge of the Green New Deal and Dombrovkis who has to make an 'economy that works for people'.


It's the sixth day of hearings and three outgoing Juncker commissioners are facing questions from MEPs for their new roles under Ursual von der Leyen.

In the Brief we take a look at their routes to the top.

Vestager - Digital Chief - Denmark

President Donald Trump called her "the tax lady that hates the US" and he might expect more tough decisions from Margrethe Vestager. She will retain the Competition portfolio if she gets confirmation as the Executive Vice-President for the Digital Age.

In the last five years, the determination of Danish liberal politician to apply multi billion euros' worth fines to multinationals, especially in the technological industry, earned her the dislike of powerful leaders and CEOs but also the admiration from many others.

Despite that performance and her previous experience as minister for Economic Affairs and for Interior, Vestager lost the race to become president of the European Commission, last may.

But the European Council made a point of designating her as one of the Vice-presidents, when they chose Ursula von de Leyen for the top job.

Coordinating work on areas such as big data, artificial intelligence and digital services, the "tax lady" will shape a policy with big economic and social impacts for Europe, both internally and as a global power.

Timmermans - Green Deal - Netherlands

Riding into one of the most senior positions in Europe, most likely on two-wheels. The climate conscious socialist Dutchman Frans Timmermans will lead the flagship policy of the incoming European Commission.

His exact title: Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal. The next Commisison president Ursula von der Leyen has made him her number two. A position he knows well - having been the first vice president of the outgoing Juncker commission.

Before Brussels, as Dutch foreign minister, he garnered international attention with a passionate UN security council speech after the downing of MH17 in 2014 killing 193 of his countrymen.

"Did they lock hands with their loved ones...did they hold their children close to their hearts..."

The 58 year-old from Maastricht wanted to take the Commission's helm this time around .

As socialist candidate to become president in last May's European elections he even seemed close at one point.

Updates on Commissioner-designates

Sylvie Goulard having to walk the extra mile - after a tough grilling by the European Parliament last week, the French Commissioner-designate for the internal market was given one more chance: answer a set of written questions or else. The deadline is Tuesday. After that, the committee will vote again. If it fails to reach a two-thirds majority, a new hearing will be held on Thursday (10 October).

Janusz Wojciechowski, the Polish candidate for EU agriculture Commissioner, had his last-chance hearing on Tuesday. The written answers that he provided failed to bring the committee on his side, and finally he has been approved.

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