The European Parliament is to vote on the new European Commissioners after the parliament’s chief announced the debates and hearings on the makeup of the new Commission were complete.
“The European Parliament decides on the new European Commission next Wednesday,” David Sassoli told reporters after meeting with the Commission’s three executive Vice Presidents-designate on Thursday.
“If confirmed by the majority of the members of the European Parliament, the new Commission led by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen can take office on Dec. 1,” he added.
The new Commission will begin work a month later than planned and without a representative from the United Kingdom, meaning there will be 27 portfolio holders including the president.
The UK’s failure to leave the EU before the inauguration of the new Commission meant that it was obliged to nominate a commissioner. However, the British government has refused to do so, resulting in an infringement procedure being brought against it by Brussels. Without a British nominee, the Commission will issue a reasoned opinion that could end up in the European Court of Justice.
Next week’s vote will bring an end to a tortuous process of hearings for commission candidates that began in September and saw three countries nominees rejected over conflict of interest concerns. Earlier this month, France and Romania submitted new candidates who this time passed the test. And this week, after responding in writing to a complementary questionnaire, the new Hungarian Olivér Várhelyi was confirmed by parliamentarians.
The decision to close this phase was agreed on Thursday during a meeting chaired by Sassoli with the three executive vice presidents appointed by the German (Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis) and the leaders of the political groups at the Conference of Presidents of Parliament.