The Brief: Von der Leyen changes controversial portfolio

The Brief: Von der Leyen changes controversial portfolio
By Méabh Mc Mahon
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After receiving criticism for the Protecting our European way of life portfolio, the president-elect has changed the title less than one month before she is due to take office.


Ursula von der Leyen, Commission President in waiting, has rolled back on her controversial Commissioner post, Protecting our European way of life. The title will now be Promoting our European way of life.

When the title was announced in September, the president-elect received a lot of criticism, but stood behind her decision. Now it seems she has changed her mind.

"I would have loved to see that the title was changed completely. But at least it is a success that it is now saying we are not protecting ourselves against other people. So this is indeed a progress," German MEP Tiemo Wölken said.

Von Der Leyen is delayed taking office after Parliament rejected her proposed Commissioners from Hungary, Romania and France.

As new candidates have been nominated, it is their time to face a grilling.

The French nominee Thierry Breton, is already ruffling feathers.

"Now he is going to be responsible for digital issues and he was the CEO of a company dealing with digital issues. So there is, more or less, always a potential conflict of interest," Wölken explained.

French MEP Chistophe Grudler is confidant in the nomination from Paris. 01.18

"He is the right man, he is a man of action, he has a lot of experience on all the topics of his portfolio," Grudler said.

While things seem calm now, MEPs are keen to get on with the job.

"Continuing in limboland it is not helpful. We want to move on with the job that we were elected to do for sure. So they need to sort in one way or the other. But, am I happy with the team as assembled? Of course I am not," Irish MEP Clare Daly said.

Von der Leyen and her new Commission are set to take office on December 1.

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