The nomination of six MEPs to the college of European commissioners will prompt the biggest shake-up since the European Parliament re-convened in July after elections in the spring.
The six new MEPs – four from the centre-right and one each from the centre-left and the liberals – are expected to join the Parliament on or around 1 November, when their predecessors are supposed to take up their posts in the college of European commissioners.
The plenary is scheduled to vote on the entire college led by Jean-Claude Juncker, the president-elect of the Commission, during its plenary session in Strasbourg on 20-23 October. Following their confirmation, the members of the next Commission are required to resign from their current posts, at the latest immediately before taking up their new roles. The procedure for replacing departing MEPs is left to each member state, although in most cases the runner-up on the electoral list is automatically chosen.
Four of the six MEPs who are joining the European Commission are from the group of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP): Marianne Thyssen of Belgium, Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia, Miguel Arias Cañete of Spain, and Christos Stylianides of Cyprus.
Romania’s Corina Cret¸u is a member of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats group in the Parliament.
Andrus Ansip, from Estonia, is a liberal.
Tom Vandenkendelaere, head of the youth wing of the Flemish Christian Democrats, the CD&V, will take over from Thyssen, including on the Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee. Dombrovskis will be replaced by Inese Vaidere, an MEP in 2004-14. Dombrovskis, prime minister of Latvia in 2009-14, is a member of the budgets committee.
Arias Cañete’s replacement is Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo, an MEP in 2004-14. Esteban González Pons, who joined the European Parliament as second on Spain’s centre-right list, will take over from Arias Cañete as leader of the Spanish delegation in the EPP group. Arias Cañete is a member of the committees for budgetary control, for fisheries, and for constitutional affairs.
Stylianides will be replaced by Lefteris Christoforou, who has been a member of Cyprus’s national parliament for the ruling DISY since 1996. Stylianides is also a member of the budgets committee and of the delegation for relations with the US. No replacement has yet been identified for Andrus Ansip.
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Emilian Pavel, a regional councillor and director in Romania’s ministry of youth and sports, will replace Creţu, from the centre-
left Socialists and Democrats group.
Creţu’s departure to the Commission would also trigger an election for her position as one of the 14 vice-presidents of the Parliament.
The S&D group expects the EPP and ALDE groups to support its candidate and respect the S&D’s claim to have three vice-presidents. (The EPP has six, ALDE two, with one each for the ECR, GUE and Greens.) The candidate is likely to be another Romanian centre-left MEP.