New EU chief names team for climate and global challenges

Henrietta Strickland
September 10, 2019

The next head of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Tuesday the next steps on Brexit are entirely in the hands of the United Kingdom.

Italy's public debt now stands at a daunting 132 percent of GDP and the new government in Rome will struggle to meet belt-tightening commitments already made to Brussels, potentially leaving Gentiloni in the delicate role of enforcing rules against his own country.

The first big drama they will likely star in will be Brexit, which, if British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gets his way, will be effective from the first day of the new Commission.

Her "college" of commissioners will take office on November 1, assuming they secure approval from the European Parliament - not a given after it only narrowly backed the German in July.

It has been confirmed that Ireland's nominee to the European Commission, Phil Hogan, will take on the role as Commissioner for Trade in the new European Commission.

Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, said the plans would benefit the US -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance to which many European Union states belong, adding: "NATO will always be (our) collective defence".

Hogan, now in charge of agriculture, will face a battle to resolve trade tensions with US President Donald Trump's administration and will be in charge of establishing future economic relations with Britain after Brexit.

That issue has taken on added urgency with ominous signs of a possible global recession, or at least a pronounced slowdown not helped by the US-China trade war.

They include former Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni and outgoing Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

"I congratulate Johannes Hahn on his new responsible role as EU Budget Commissioner".

The third executive vice president, Frans Timmermans, responsible for justice and the rule of law in the current commission, a position which often placed him in conflict with the governments of Hungary, Poland and Romania, will manage the EU's climate action policy and the so-called European Green Deal.

Juncker dubbed his team the "political" commission.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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