The new European Commission takes office
After having been confirmed by the European Parliament and the European Council in October 2014, the Juncker Commission took office in Brussels on 1st November, on a rather positive note, as it is the first European Commission to do so on time since the introduction of the European Parliament hearings in 1994. Jean-Claude Juncker is also the first President of the institution to be elected through a pan-European election campaign, which aims at reinforcing the democratic legitimacy of the role of the President of the European Commission.
Upon his nomination as President of the European Commission in July 2014, Juncker orchestrated a fundamental reorganisation of the College of Commissioners. Now, Commissioners in similar subject areas, such as economy or foreign relations, will be clustered together in seven different groups. The purpose of those groups will be to better serve the Political Guidelines on the basis of which President Juncker was elected.
These groups will be headed by a Vice-President who will be responsible for overseeing the work of the Commissioners and have the final say. A Commissioner will depend on the support of a Vice-President to bring a new initiative into the Commission Work Programme or on to the College Agenda. At the same time, a Vice-President will depend on his or her Project Team Commissioners' contributions to successfully complete the project assigned to him or her.
This new configuration reflects Juncker’s ideas and ambitions for the European Union regarding the digital revolution. A Project Team dedicated to the Single Digital Market led by Vice President Andrus Ansip from Estonia was set up with objectives such as: adapting copyright to the digital era, supporting Europe’s cultural and audiovisual sectors to reach out to new audiences, modernising consumer rules in the online environment, and concluding the data protection regulation.
The culture portfolio has been allocated to Hungarian Commissioner Tibor Navracsics who will be responsible for the Culture pillar of the Creative Europe programme, while German national Gunther Oettinger, the former Commissioner for Energy, has been allocated the Digital Economy and Society portfolio and will be in charge of the MEDIA pillar of the Creative Europe programme and copyright reform.