New European Commission leadership – the president of the Commission and its college – will take up their duties next week on 1 November 2015. Two immensely important portfolios for international development will be held by Commissioners from the newer EU member states for the next five years.
Naven Mimica from Croatia – the newest EU member state – will take up the job of the Development Commissioner. He previously held the post of Commissioner for Consumer Protection in the last Commission and was at the heart of Croatia’s EU accession negotiations. He did not face a tough hearing in front of the European Parliament where MEPs determined he is fit for the new post. Some NGOs have, however, already criticised Mimica for not having visions for development .
Another important portfolio for development in the new Commission – Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management – will be held by Christos Stylianides from Cyprus. He is a previous spokesperson of the Republic of Cyprus and politician in the Cypriot parliament. He was elected as an MEP in the European elections in May 2014.
As a result of the European elections in May the new European Parliament has also started its work; MEPs have been assigned to different committees and new roles have been agreed upon. In the Development Committee – the group of MEPs directly addressing development cooperation issues – there are seven members from the newer EU member states out of 27 MEPs in total. Namely, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică and Cristian Dan Preda from Romania, Karol Karski and Bogdan Brunon Wenta from Poland, György Schöpflin from Hungary, Davor Ivo Stier from Croatia and Anna Záborská from Slovakia.
The Romanian MEP Christian Predra has also been tasked with the important role of being the European Parliament rapporteur for Policy Coherence for Development. The Croatian MEP Ivo Stier has become the Political Coordinator for his political group – the European People’s Party – on issues related to the development committee.
Civil society organisations will keep a close eye on these and other new EU leaders in the area of international development.
Information provided by Mirjam Sutrop, TRIALOG