European Commission President-designate Jean-Claude Juncker announced on October 15 changes to the portfolios he intends allocating, a result of a reshuffle in the proposed commission following a change in the Slovenian candidate.
Juncker is nominating Slovakia’s nominee Maroš Šefčovič to be Vice-President for Energy Union, while the new Slovenian candidate, Violeta Bulc, will get the transport portfolio.
He announced the changes after the proposals he had forwarded were approved by the Council of the European Union.
Šefčovič and Bulc will have to face European Parliament confirmation hearings for their respective portfolios (Šefčovič’s previous endorsement from MEPs only counting for the transport portfolio).
The dates for the new hearings have not been announced, with the EC media service saying that “the timing and modalities of the hearings are the exclusive remit of the European Parliament.”
The Juncker commission is scheduled to take office on November 1, with a confirmation vote in the European Parliament scheduled for October 22.
But the tight deadline for the new hearings has some observers calling into question whether the two nominees would have enough time to prepare for their hearings, raising the prospect of a delay in the new European Commission taking office.
As it stands, Bulc’s nomination is already being viewed with some skepticism, according to reports in Brussels-based media specialising in EU issues and news, because of her lack of policy-making experience and her more esoteric interests – reported to include shamanism and fire-walking.
Slovenia changed its candidate after MEPs declined to endorse Alenka Bratušek, who originally was to get the vice-president post, by an overwhelming majority. Šefčovič was the original nominee for the transport portfolio.