President-elect of the new European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced her preferred college of Commissioners and offered some insights into the political priorities for her term of office.
According to Mrs. von der Leyen’s proposal, Virginijus Sinkevičius of Lithuania will be the new Commissioner for the Environment with responsibility for all waste legislation. A member of the Greens/European Free Alliance parliamentary group, Mr. Sinkevičius is the current Minister of Economy and Innovation in Lithuania and, at just 28 years of age, is the youngest of the Commissioner candidates. Part of his mission will be to lead on the new circular economy action plan which Mrs. von der Leyen has announced for her term of office.
The new plan forms part of the “European Green Deal”, one of the six key pillars of the new Commission, which aim to make Europe the first continent to reach climate neutrality by 2050. This work will be coordinated by Frans Timmermans (Socialists and Democrats), the proposed future Commissioner for Climate and Executive Vice-President of the Commission.
The proposed college of Commissioners is not yet set in stone. The European Parliament may still demand some changes to both candidates and portfolios, forcing Mrs. von der Leyen to re-shuffle her college. The Parliament’s final vote on the Commission is scheduled for 21 October. After the official adoption by the Council of the European Union, the new Commission is expected to take office on 1 November.