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Serious concerns with make-up of new Commission

As Jean-Claude Juncker proposed the new college of European Commissioners today, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said the new Commission must radically change direction if it is to fight unemployment and poverty and restore citizens' confidence in the EU.

“The Commission Vice-Presidents will have greater responsibility; we won't have 28 Commissioners only looking out for their own portfolio or their national interest. But why is there no 'super Commissioner' for the necessary dual task of economic growth and social and ecological minimum standards in order to reduce unemployment and poverty? We would have expected such a post to be created given the high level of youth unemployment and growing poverty,” said President Zimmer.

She outlined that the Group has several concerns with many of the Commissioners-designate:

“It is questionable whether Oettinger, the Commissioner-designate for Digital Economy and Society, will really act in the interests of citizens, given his track record as Energy Commissioner where he particularly represented the interests of energy companies on issues such as energy poverty. The oil industry will be pleased with the Energy and climate change portfolio nominee Miguel Canete, notorious for his links to oil companies as well as for sexist comments he made during a TV debate. And the Irish candidate Phil Hogan, nominee for Agriculture, tried to stop local authorities giving housing to a family from the traveller community.”

Gabi Zimmer also set out the Group's two main demands on the new Commission:

“The previous Commission, as part of the Troika, was directly responsible for dictating cuts to public spending and privatisation that have thrown millions, particularly on the periphery of Europe, into unemployment and poverty. We want the new Commission to abolish the Troika and build a social Union that prioritises tackling youth unemployment and sustainable investment in infrastructure for job creation.

“In addition, for years now the Commission has been secretly negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. This agreement, known as TTIP, will only serve the interests of banks and corporations, and not the interests of citizens. We call on the new Commission to stand up for transparency and reveal the contents of the negotiations to citizens now.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group