Simson likely to be assigned portfolio in early September

Ursula von der Leyen and Kadri Simson, Aug. 7, 2019.
Ursula von der Leyen and Kadri Simson, Aug. 7, 2019. Source: Twitter/Kadri Simson

Estonian candidate for EU commissioner, Kadri Simson told ERR on Tuesday after her meeting with designated commission president Ursula von der Leyen that the incoming commissioners will likely be assigned their portfolios early next month. At the same time, chances that she will work with Jean-Claude Juncker's outgoing commission are small.

According to the latest schedule, the new commission will start on Nov. 1, with both the distribution of portfolios as well as hearings in the European Parliament to start in early September, Simson said.

Von der Leyen confirmed to her in the meeting that she will wait for all 26 new commissioners to be appointed before assigning jobs, she added. There are currently still two candidates missing.

"We talked in more detail about the topics I've dealt with in the past at the European Union level, and my approach and what I see myself doing over the next few years," Simson further described her meeting with the designated EU commission president.

According to Simson, von der Leyen comes across as very likeable and warm. "I would like working on her team very much," she said, adding that the talk left a "deeply positive" impression on her.

No news regarding confirmation as member of Juncker commission

Simson is currently a candidate both for the replacement of the last Estonian commissioner, Andrus Ansip, who has already left the European Commission to join the European Parliament instead, and for the incoming administration under von der Leyen.

The outgoing EU commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said on several occasions that he doesn't like the idea of temporary appointments, and has left the matter widely untouched. This means that Simson is still waiting to hear whether or not she will be appointed to Juncker's outgoing administration still.

The only other country in the same situation is Romania, where there are two different candidates—one to replace Corina Cretu on the current commission, and another for the incoming one led by Ursula von der Leyen. Because of stalling in the European Parliament over committee chair appointments and other internal business, Ansip and Cretu's replacements couldn't be confirmed before the parliament's summer recess.

"Whether or not I'll work for the Juncker commission at all currently depends on the European Parliament," Simson explained to ERR. Her appointment depends on a plenary vote, which cannot take place without the parliament having heard her, and so far there have been no hearings.

The parliament will be in session again only in mid September, which means there is a good chance Simson won't start before Ursula von der Leyen takes over.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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