Jonathan Hill, the UK’s centre-right commission nominee, is to succeed Michel Barnier as the commissioner in charge of financial markets regulation.
Announcing the distribution of portfolios, European Commission president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed a reorganisation of the college of commissioners that sees former Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen named vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.
In his role, Katainen will be the senior commissioner in charge of all economic portfolios, including internal market matters and financial stability.
He is currently the commissioner for economic and monetary affairs.
Katainen, prior to assuming the economic and monetary affairs brief – vacated by Olli Rehn when he took up his seat as MEP in the European Parliament this summer – also served as Finland’s deputy prime minister and spent four years as finance minister.
Financial markets regulation, in a departure from José Manuel Barroso’s preceding commission, will no longer be concentrated within the internal markets and services commission, overseen by Barnier.
Instead, the UK’s Jonathan Hill was nominated as commissioner for financial stability, financial services and the capital markets union.
In his role, he will be responsible for the three European Supervisory Authorities, including the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).
While there was no direct confirmation of the fact, Hill’s oversight of EIOPA and capital markets would imply that his directorate general would be the new home of the internal market commission’s directorates G and H – for financial markets and financial institutions, respectively.
The financial institutions directorate also contains the pensions and insurance unit, which, under Klaus Wiedner, was responsible for the most recent draft of the IORP Directive.
Hill is one of the commission nominees with the least front-line political experience, having until recently served as the leader of the House of Lords, the UK’s upper house.
He has worked in a number of economic departments in the UK, and was head of former Conservative Party prime minister John Major’s policy unit.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the centre-right commissioner from Poland, has been nominated as commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises.
Explaining the decision to split the responsibilities of the internal markets commission, a statement said the EU had published “an ambitious and unprecedented series of regulatory and supervisory reforms to secure financial stability” in recent years.
“Therefore,” it added, “the time has come to focus the existing expertise and responsibility in one place.”
It said Hill would “ensure that the Commission remains active and vigilant in implementing the new supervisory and resolution rules”.
While Juncker has the authority to assign portfolios to the commissioners, the college as a whole will still need approval from the European Parliament, which is likely to begin confirmation hearings the week of 22 September.