EU job delay a possibility

Dacian Ciolos

It could be next January before the EU agriculture commissioner is in place, to oversee farming and rural development up to 2019.

The new Commissioners are due to start work on November 1, but the delay in choosing a new Council President and EU foreign affairs chief is likely to hold up their appointment, by adding to political wrangling among governments on the various Commissioner jobs.

If Government heads cannot agree on the two top EU jobs at a summit on August 30, the process could fall behind schedule.

New Commission President Juncker is scheduled to propose his team in August or September. But MEPs have the power to reject appointments, after Commissioners-elect attend European Parliament committee hearings in September or October.

There could be a long wait for leading agriculture commissioner candidates such as the current office holder, Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, and Ireland’s Phil Hogan.

Despite rumours of a complete clear-out of the Commission led by José Manuel Barroso for two terms, many believe Ciolos is the favourite to keep the agriculture job.

The former Romanian Agriculture Minister has been nominated by his country as its candidate for the next Commission. First appointed in 2010, he proposed and has overseen the 2014-2020 CAP reform, which was eventually agreed by the Parliament and Council last year. His re-appointment would bring continuity to the CAP reform.

Agriculture Commissioner is a significant job for Romanis, where farming plays a bigger role than in most member states. But the same is true in Ireland, which strengthens the possibility of Hogan getting the agriculture job.

Sources in Brussels also point to support for him from Mairead McGuinness, now powerfully placed as one of the 14 European Parliament vice-presidents.

Hogan would be the first Irish agriculture commissioner since Ray MacSharry, over 20 years ago.

Another name in the frame for EU agriculture commissioner is former Spanish agriculture minister, Miguel Arias Cañete, currently an MEP. However, other candidates may also emerge; few member states would turn up their noses at their candidate heading up a policy area that has almost 40% of the EU budget.


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