Czech politician Věra Jourová has been nominated as one of eight vice presidents in the next European Commission, to be led by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Jourová will be responsible for values and transparency, and serve a term of five years once the new administration takes over.
Since October 2014, she has been European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality under President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Today’s nomination for the Vice-President of the EU Commission is a great honour for me. It is for the first time that the Czech Republic has such a top job. I look forward to my hearing before the European Parliament, which has the final say,” Jourová said on Twitter.
Von der Leyen outlined her expectations in a public letter to Jourová. “I want you to lead the Commission’s work on values and transparency. At the heart of this is the need for the European Union to have a strong and vibrant democracy, and to uphold the values and the rights which unite us and give us the freedoms we cherish,” she said.
“Our diversity and our openness are the core of our strength, and we cannot allow others to exploit and weaken them, whether they come from within or from outside our Union. Underpinning all of this is the rule of law, which should be upheld and respected throughout our Union without any compromise,” she added.
At the press conference to announce the nomination, von der Leyen was asked whether transparency would be a good role for a Czech commissioner, due to the ongoing scandals in Czech politics.
“First question to von der Leyen. on her appointments to the EC is whether Czech Věra Jourová is correct choice as VP for Values and Transparency since her country’s leader is under investigation by the EU anti-fraud office OLAF. Good one,” EUscreams podcast editor James Kanter tweeted.
The European Commissioner will have three executive vice presidents and five additional vice presidents, with Jourová in the latter group.
The vice presidents will be responsible for the top priorities, according to a European Commission statement. They will steer work on the European Green Deal, a Europe fit for the digital age, an economy that works for people, protecting our European way of life, a stronger Europe in the world, and a new push for European democracy, the EC stated.
“This will be a Commission that walks the talk. We have a structure that focuses on tasks not hierarchies. We need to be able to deliver on the issues that matter the most rapidly and with determination,” President-elect von der Leyen said.
Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans (Netherlands) will coordinate the work on the European Green Deal. He will also manage climate action policy, supported by the Directorate-General for Climate Action.
“I want the European Green Deal to become Europe’s hallmark. At the heart of it is our commitment to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent. It is also a long-term economic imperative: those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grasp the opportunities from the ecological transition. I want Europe to be the front-runner. I want Europe to be the exporter of knowledge, technologies and best practice,” President-elect von der Leyen said.
The other executive vice presidents are Margrethe Vestager (Denmark), who will coordinate the agenda on a Europe fit for the digital age and be the Commissioner for Competition, supported by the Directorate-General for Competition, and Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia), who will coordinate the work on an economy that works for people and be the Commissioner for Financial Services, supported by the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.
Overall there will be 27 commissioners, counting the vice presidents. Of these, 14 will be men and 13 women. Eight of the commissioners, including Jourová, served in the Juncker Commission.
“The gender-balanced College I am presenting today makes good on my pledge to put together a Commission that is more representative and draws on all of our potential. This is a good start, but there is plenty more work to be done,” von der Leyen said in a letter to her nominees.
Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the European Council will formally appoint the new European Commission.