Commission President presents new team

In July 1999, the new President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, presented his proposed new team of Commissioners. The team selected reflects a desire for a fresh start after the allegations of irregularities which had beset the Commission, and a number of responsibilities have been redistributed. Anna Diamantopoulou, from Greece, has been entrusted with the employment and social affairs portfolio.

The new President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi- chosen by the EU Member States and approved by the European Parliament- announced his new 19-member team of Commissioners on 9 July 1999, by common accord with the Member States. The first meeting of the proposed new-look Commission took place on 16 July. Few of the sitting Commissioners survived the shake-out following the allegations of irregularities which had beset the outgoing administration. On announcing his team, Mr Prodi said that: "when I accepted the job of Commission President, I promised to launch a new era of change in the Commission. The Commission needs it. The European Parliament and Member States have asked for it. The European public has urged us to carry it out. This is what I intend to deliver, starting from today.".

Mr Prodi also announced a reorganisation of Commission departments, which results in a reduction in the number of services and in the amount of overlap. The main changes are as follows:

  • division of the external relations portfolio by subject rather than geographical region;
  • creation of a new enterprise department, bringing together the current Directorates-General for industry, small and medium-sized enterprises and innovation policy;
  • creation of a new department for justice and home affairs;
  • consolidation of health and consumer protection in a single department; and
  • creation of a new department to combine education and culture.

The new Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, replacing Pádraig Flynn, is Anna Diamantopoulou, formerly Greece's deputy minister for development. Ms Diamantopoulou trained as a civil engineer, has a long track record in politics and has been a minister since 1996. At 40, she is the youngest member of the new Commission.

The table below lists outlining the proposed new Commissioners and their responsibilities. After hearings scheduled for the first week of September, the European Parliament is expected to approve the new team by mid-September 1999.

The members of the proposed new European Commission
Name (country, political party) Title Responsibilities
Neil Kinnock (United Kingdom, PES) Vice President for administrative reform Overall coordination and administrative reform; personnel and administration; linguistic services; protocol and security.
Loyola de Palacio (Spain, EPP) Vice President in charge of relations with the European Parliament and for transport and energy Relations with the European Parliament; relations with the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee and the Ombudsman; transport; energy.
Mario Monti (Italy, EPP) European Commissioner for competition Competition.
Franz Fischler (Austria, EPP) European Commissioner for agriculture and fisheries Agriculture and rural development; fisheries.
Erkki Liikanen (Finland, PES) European Commissioner for enterprise and the information society Enterprise; competitiveness; innovation; information society.
Frits Bolkestein (the Netherlands, ELDR) European Commissioner for the internal market Internal market; financial services; customs; taxation.
Philippe Busquin (Belgium, PES) European Commissioner for research Science, research and development; joint research centre.
Pedro Solbes Mira (Spain, PES) European Commissioner for economic and monetary Affairs Economic and financial affairs; monetary matters, statistical office.
Poul Nielson (Denmark, PES) European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid Development and cooperation; humanitarian aid.
Günther Verheugen (Germany, PES) European Commissioner for enlargement Enlargement process, including pre-accession strategy.
Christopher Patten (United Kingdom, EPP) European Commissioner for external relations External relations; common foreign and security policy; delegations in non-member countries; common service for external relations.
Pascal Lamy (France, PES) European Commissioner for trade Trade policies and instruments for trade policy.
David Byrne (Ireland, UFE) European Commissioner for health and consumer protection Public health; consumer protection.
Michel Barnier (France, EPP) European Commissioner for regional policy Regional policy; cohesion fund; intergovernmental conference.
Viviane Reding (Luxembourg, EPP) European Commissioner for education and culture Citizen's Europe; transparency; education and culture; publications office.
Michaele Schreyer (Germany, Greens) European Commissioner for the Budget Budget; financial control; fraud prevention.
Margot Wallström (Sweden, PES) European Commissioner for the environment Environment; nuclear safety.
Antonio Vitorino (Portugal, PES) European Commissioner for justice and home affairs Freedom, security and justice.
Anna Diamantopoulou (Greece, PES) European Commissioner for employment and social affairs Employment; social affairs; equal opportunities.
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