Lithuanian politician Vytenis Andriukaitis has been earmarked as the next commissioner for health and food safety in a leaked Juncker line-up, but officials remain tight lipped.
The final Commission leadership will be announced next week but media outlet EuroActiv said it had seen a draft structure dated 2 September which showed Andriukaitis taking the health and food safety post, German politician Günther Oettinger appointed as commissioner for trade, Ireland’s Phil Hogen as agricultural commissioner, Malta’s Karmenu Vella as fisheries commissioner, Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager as environment commissioner and the UK’s Jonathan Hill as energy and climate change commissioner.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the recently elected Luxembourger president of the Commission, is still conducting interviews for his new squad, which will see a commissioner from each of the 28 member states selected to head up a policy area. Commission spokesperson Frederic Vincent told FoodNavigator it would therefore not be commenting on the report until this process was completed.
The rumoured line-up suggested we could see the disappearance of the internal market post, currently held by French politician Michel Barnier, as well as that for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, currently held by Czech Republic’s Štefan Füle.
Meanwhile it was rumoured that the digital agenda portfolio, held by Dutch politician Neelie Kroes, could be replaced by a vice president position for digital and innovation and a commissioner for internet and culture. The changes could also see the addition of several vice presidents.
Commenting on the rumours, Carole Brigaudeau, director of communications for the alcohol trade association Spirits Europe, told FoodNavigator that there was no point speculating.
“Every five minutes there is someone coming up with a new list.” She said this would be a long process within which Juncker was entitled to make changes, meaning Europhiles would have to be patient.
However the organisation said looking forward, Spirits Europe’s hoped internal markets and external trade issues, taxation and the reduction of alcohol-related harm would feature high on the agenda of the new cabinet – the last of which it hoped it could be a part of the debate for.
Meanwhile, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has said a consumer policy commissioner would be the key to whether the next five years were a success for EU politics.