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The EU’s pivot to Africa, interrupted by coronavirus, begs for reinvigoration once the pandemic eases. If he is going to set the EU on course to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 as promised, the real work of Timmermans’ vice presidency is still ahead of him. Várhelyi will ultimately be judged on whether would-be members, including countries already in talks such as Serbia and Montenegro, move closer to the EU on his watch. While von der Leyen’s “shield” line went down well in Greece, it didn’t go down so well with socialists and some EU diplomats, who argued it reinforced the idea that refugees and migrants posed a threat. 1. Grade B. If anything, von der Leyen… Worst moments: Aside from the first weeks when the pandemic broke, exposing many EU weaknesses, another low point for Lenarčič came after the U.S. election. The effort covers everything from energy to transport to agriculture to industry, and even a carbon fee at Europe’s border. An October Parliament session made for painful watching as a largely silent Simson got panned by MEPs over Brussels’ failure to exclude fossil fuels from investment protection under the Energy Charter Treaty. Poland announcing its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding instrument on preventing and combating violence against women, was another low point. Dombrovskis will also have to prove whether he can improve transatlantic trade relations, so that he can turn his attention eastward and deal with China’s state-led economy. What comes next: Schmit gets another go to push through his socialist ambitions when he presents plans to revamp the European Pillar of Social Rights early next year. Schinas has said repeatedly that Europe cannot fail twice on migration, following the crisis of 2015-16. Best moments: The Irishwoman brings some welcome straight-talking to the intangible world of financial services. The resignation of Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan was embarrassing but gave von der Leyen the chance to appoint a female successor, Mairead McGuinness — taking the Commission to 13 women out of 27 commissioners. Performance review: Timmermans doubled down on the Green Deal even as the pandemic put Europe’s political and economic agenda in a headlock. She displayed a pragmatic approach in a case against chipmaker Broadcom, using a long-forgotten legal tool to force the company to change its behavior. Once the leadership issue is resolved, Šuica will be able to pursue her main mission. His golden hour came in brokering a crisis aid package for the wine sector, which MEPs threatened to block until he personally intervened. Moving the goalposts has cheered Paris but strained regulatory relations with unpredictable results for finance. Grade C. Best moments: Reynders got some behind-the-scenes support for a bid to take up the trade portfolio when Ireland’s Phil Hogan left his seat. Phil HoganResigned as commissioner for trade. Performance review: The Commission’s economic chief shakes pressure off like water from a duck’s back, a great quality to have when a pandemic triggers a double-dip recession. Best moments: Without question, von der Leyen’s signature moment came before dawn on July 21 when EU national leaders reached unanimous agreement on the budget-and-recovery package. Grade A-. The pandemic paused plans to review the EU’s fiscal rules and with global disagreements over taxing tech giants, Gentiloni cruised through his first year unscathed. Sputnik is live from Brussels, Belgium, where President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, and European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton are briefing the press following a meeting of the European Commission College on Wednesday. What comes next: 2021 will be the year to watch whether the Danish politician lets European industrial policy take a more political direction. This clue was last seen on February 20 2021 on New York Times’s Crossword. Worst moments: Sinkevičius hasn’t impressed as much with the oceans part of his portfolio. Worst moments: The gender equality strategy she issued in March mainly repeated existing legislative plans that are blocked in the Council. First female Commission president. Worst moments: Von der Leyen grabbed the limelight for the 55 percent announcement, and despite Timmermans’ goading of politicians and olive branches to coal miners, the target has still not been agreed to by EU leaders. Kyriakides managed relatively well, considering her plate was full of new files, an unprecedented crisis and the fact that Brussels doesn’t control health policy. Borrell was similarly blunt in saying the EU could not rely solely on soft power, in rubbishing U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, and even conceding that the EU had dropped the ball on Belarus sanctions. He started 2020 at the peak of his career, having racked up two landmark trade deals with Japan and South America’s Mercosur bloc in his previous role as agriculture commissioner. What comes next: The vexed question of who will lead the conference on Europe’s future has still to be resolved. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a joint news conference with EU Council President Charles Michel after … Best moment: Had the bloc’s energy supply been weakened or interrupted by the COVID crisis, she would have had to assume at least part of the blame. What comes next: We’ll see what Gentiloni is made of in 2021. Latest news, analysis and comment from POLITICO’s editors and guest writers in Europe. Performance review: The second-term Latvian commissioner was elevated to executive vice president for “an Economy that Works for People.” Well, it’s not, even if no one could fault policymakers for the sharpest recession in living memory. What comes next: Ferreira will have an important role to play in the rollout of the EU’s Just Transition Fund, meant to support regions most affected by digital and climate transitions. Worst moment: The “strategic foresight report,” his flagship effort published in September that gained minimal attention. And her team stirred unnecessary controversy by not being forthright when von der Leyen left Brussels to self-isolate because of a coronavirus risk. What comes next: The road for the German Council presidency to reach a political deal on at least some key points of the Migration Pact seems even more uphill than before. %PDF-1.6 %���� Share page. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, there was pressure from some business interests for the Commission to drop the Green Deal and embrace deregulation. Grade B for unobtrusive performance. While there have been setbacks, including an ongoing standoff with Hungary and Poland over rule of law, the joint debt component of the plan is historic and means von der Leyen has already achieved more toward boosting EU integration than most presidents can hope for in a five-year term. (Instead he admitted that Brussels had virtually no sense of just how badly unprepared national governments were.) Grade C. Best moment: Gabriel backed the right horse in the EU budget fight: she was vocal in her support for the European Parliament’s campaign for extra money for research and education, which was ultimately successful in getting nearly €6 billion extra for programs she will oversee. European Green Deal The European Green Deal is a programme outlined in the . She also needs to unblock the deadlock on the Istanbul Convention and convince all European countries to ratify the framework. She also opened probes into Apple and Amazon, returning to what she does best: headline-grabbing cases targeting Big Tech. Best moments: When Turkey lifted controls on migrants exiting for the EU, the leaders of the top EU institutions flew to the Greek border in early March and von der Leyen expressed thanks to Greece for being “our European aspida,” or shield in Greek. While the Commission conveyed von der Leyen's irritation, an EU official who declined to be named said to do so might have provoked a "protocol … An EU official rejected these allegations, saying he operates the same way as other commissioners. Performance review: There are no other commissioners in the EU’s history that can say they turned 30 on the job. Latest news, analysis and comment on defense in Europe and beyond. That’s when he’ll have to introduce an EU digital tax if global talks stall again and find consensus between Northern and Southern Europe on reforming the bloc’s debt and deficit rules. European Commission Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200 1049 … Grade B-. What comes next: An unfathomably busy legislative agenda looms in 2021 as Green Deal policies start to tumble out of the Commission. László Trócsányi is Hungary’s Commissioner-Designate for the von der Leyen Commission and is a member of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz (EPP). Worst moments: He promised a permanent EU-wide safety net for the jobless would be delivered by the end of this year, but this has disappeared from the Commission’s to-do list — substituted by the SURE program, which is loans-based and temporary. Latest news, analysis and comment on security in Europe and beyond. Grade C+. But that was strongly resisted as a knee-jerk reaction. Ursula von der Leyen Commission president. Some also still blame her for voting against the Parliament’s effort to trigger Article 7 against Hungary in 2018 when she was an MEP. h�b```f``jg`a`�tgf@ a�+sl ��>t�d0��0�n�P`�e�R`��8�����,�8���APG)��]�����o�i@�p����*�������& ��A��!-�������� @qe�?Y@��E�n� :���k Unlike many of her colleagues, Šuica appeared rarely at the Commission’s press podium, working in the meantime on depopulation, aging and children’s rights. Campaigning, lobbying and political influence in the U.K. What’s driving the day in Paris, en français, The weekly digest of the best stories in U.K. politics. Best moments: When she presented the long-awaited and much-postponed Migration Pact at the end of September. Explore the live extension of our journalism, The wonk's survival guide to the EU Green Deal, April 19 — Rewriting the Transatlantic Tech Playbook, April 20 — The coming shakeup of the EU Emissions Trading System, May 18 — POLITICO Virtual Interview: In Conversation With Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, “Global Monitor of COVID-19’s impact on Democracy and Human Rights,”. Worst moments: Von der Leyen has struggled most in moments when she couldn’t be found. It wasn’t popular with capitals or airlines, but Vălean warned of infringement proceedings and the challenge retreated. What comes next: Trade wonks look forward to the EU’s trade policy review, which will be a first chance for Dombrovskis to leave his mark on how the EU will use its economic power. What comes next: The fate of the scheme to link EU payouts to the rule of law will go a long way to determining Jourová’s legacy. Performance review: Being the Hungarian commissioner is not an easy job when your prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is an outspoken critic of the Commission and there are few other Hungarians in top Brussels posts.

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