a lengthy set of hearings, the team of the new President of the European
Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was finally confirmed by MEPs in Strasbourg
on 27 November 2019. 707 of 751 MEPs took part in the vote, 461 voted for the
College, 157 against and 89 abstained.
her speech prior to the vote in the European Parliament, the President lobbied
hard for her highly qualified team. She only narrowly missed out achieving the
gender balance in her team that she had wanted by one person, but von der Leyen
has made it clear that she wants to constantly achieve gender parity in her
cabinets and at administrative level.
der Leyen focused on familiar key issues by announcing the development of an EU
climate strategy to lead the way in climate protection as well as an industrial
strategy that invests more in research.
drew greater attention to the issue of digitalisation by assigning two team
members, Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner
Thierry Breton, to work on this wide-ranging issue. Digitalisation is an inevitable
part of the future and she is in favour of using robots for difficult work and as
additional support in the care sector, but not as a substitute for human
choosing Stella Kyriakides as Health Commissioner, she has found the right person
to further elaborate the existing plan to improve the fight against cancer. She
paid tribute to the medical profession and carers but highlighted that the
number of cancer cases is still steadily rising. She added that the EU must
play a leading role in the long-term fight against cancer.
The task of Nicolas
Schmit, Commissioner for Social Rights, is to strengthen Europe’s social
dimension in three main areas: the full implementation of the European pillar
of social rights; the fight against poverty and unemployment; and the creation
of a framework for a European minimum wage.
Other topics to which
the new Commission will devote itself over the next five years include developing
an innovation strategy, completing the Capital Markets Union and Banking Union,
finding solutions to problems related to migration and asylum, strengthening
democracy, and developing anti-corruption measures.