First Estonian appointed European Commission spokesperson

Vivian Loonela.
Vivian Loonela. Source: European Commission

Estonian Vivian Loonela has been appointed European Commission coordinating spokesperson for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, public health and food safety.

"I began work in the spokesperson's service (SPP) of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as the leading spokesperson on Green Deal-related matters," Loonela told ERR.

Loonela's first appearance was on Wednesday, when she led a European Green Deal-focused press conference in the European Parliament.

"The most important issue for the European Commission and its new president, von der Leyen, is how to make Europe into a carbon-neutral continent, and in order to achieve this, the Commission will adopt a strategy that will demonstrate how to achieve this with green economic growth and without damaging a single region in Europe," Loonela said, introducing the European Commission's new ambition, which was revealed at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

The SPP of the European Commission includes a chief spokesperson, a deputy chief spokesperson and three coordinating spokespersons responsible for von der Leyen's three main priority areas — the Green Deal, the economy and digital issues. A total of 78 people work for the SPP, but just 17 spokespersons across various fields have the right to speak directly with the press.

In the previous Commission, Loonela worked as an adviser to Vice-President Andrus Ansip, who led on cybersecurity- and foreign policy-related matters. She has previous experience in the Commission leading the data protection foreign relations sector, in which she held talks with the U.S. focused on data protection-related matters, as well as experience with security and foreign affairs-related matters more broadly. She first began working in Brussels as an Estonian diplomat to NATO.

A crucial requirement for the position of coordinating spokesperson was English and French language proficiency, Loonela said, adding that she spoke both well thanks to the Estonian education system.

Estonian Anniky Lamp has also previously worked for the SPP. Lamp now works for European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson as a communications adviser responsible for EU and international media communications. Lamp also served as spokesperson for the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU in 2017.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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