EUROPE - New European Commission president José Manuel Baroso has appointed two commissioners to run the internal markets and taxation departments that Frits Bolkestein used to head on his own.
Former Irish finance minister Charlie McCreevy was named commissioner for internal market and services while Ingrida Udre, former speaker of the Latvian parliament, was handed the taxation and customs portfolio.
As the internal markets office has been responsible for financial services, the pension area will have a strong champion in the person of McCreevy, who as Irish finance minister practically single handed promoted the creation of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in Ireland and oversaw its successful implementation.
And former Czech prime minister Vladimir Spidla was named commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.
Baroso said: “I have organised this strong team to ensure we work efficiently and achieve the goals we set ourselves. I attach great importance to team players committed to the European general interest.
“Commissioners will work together and deliver real benefits for EU citizens”. He has decided to locate all Commissioners’ offices in the Berlaymont building in Brussels.
McCreevy said in a statement that “he would work to expand on the progress made since the Single Market was established in 1993, during which time 2.5m jobs have been created”.
“It is a very balanced team. It has the highest proportion of women ever in the European Commission and draws on experience from across the political spectrum,” the Commission said.
The new Commission will take office on 1 November, subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.