Daily: Simson likely to be offered European commissioner for energy

Kadri Simson (Centre).
Kadri Simson (Centre). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is to present her team of commissioners on Tuesday, the incoming European Commissioner from Estonia Kadri Simson (Centre) will likely be offered an energy-related role, daily newspaper Postimees reports.

While the international political publication Politico reported last week that Simson is considered a leading candidate for the energy portfolio, there has also been speculation from Euractiv news website that she could receive development cooperation or digital single market porfolios instead.

While Simson has not commented on the rumors, Postimees reports on Monday that the position will most likely be the commissioner for energy.

The Estonian commissioner-designate is also facing major decisions regarding the composition of her own cabinet, which at the end of last week was as uncertain as the distribution of commissioner portfolios. 

Henrik Hololei, director-general for mobility and transport at the European Commission, has recommended Simson to appoint Stefano Grassi as head of her cabinet. Grassi is presently the head of cabinet for Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy.

However, if Simson is appointed commissioner for energy, Grassi may prove an impediment as the United States, which has an important role in the Union's area of energy, is not overly well disposed towards Mogherini and members of her team, Postimees reports.   

Former Commission vice-president Andrus Ansip (Reform), who has also advised Simson in matters relating to her team, however, regards it a priority that Simson's head of cabinet be an Estonian. 

"It would be a great mistake not to appoint an Estonian as the Estonian commissioner's head of cabinet," Ansip said at an EU forum held in Tallinn last week, adding that in such case, there would be one fewer Estonian perspective on the decision-making levels of Simson's team. "There is no way that is beneficial to Estonia," Ansip told public broadcaster ERR.

While Ansip has so far not named the person he backs as candidate for Simson's head of cabinet, Postimees reports that it is likely Vivian Loonela, a member of Ansip's own cabinet during his term as vice president of the Commission.

Siim Kallas, also a former commissioner, supported Ansip's recommendation, adding that not appointing an Estonian for the position would be a grave mistake.

"Naturally, all members of the Commission take an oath that they will not follow statements from their state of origin, but if the head of cabinet is an Estonian, they will keep an eye on what is happening in Estonia and stay informed of affairs back home," Kallas said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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