On Wednesday (10 September), Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled the most significant shake-up of the European Commission's organisational structure in years. Here is European Voice's take on the new Commission college.
- A brave (though flawed) attempt at a shake-up
- Juncker deals out the pack
- Juncker’s careful balancing act
Juncker has made a serious attempt at reform, but has taken several gambles.
Timmermans given significant powers as Juncker's right-hand man and changes made to Commission departments.
Juncker had to take many issues into consideration when assigning the Commission portfolios.
- Juncker's portfolio assignments: the reaction Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled his portfolio assignments today and announced a restructuring of the commission into teams. European Voice has been collecting the reactions.
- MEPs threaten to get tough Judging by early reactions there are some commissioner nominees who may face strong resistance in the Parliament.
- Juncker seeks greater control over foreign policy The high representative will move to the European Commission headquarters and half of her cabinet must be made up of Commission staff.
- Juncker's health plans drive a wedge between partners Commission reorganisation announcement prompts health NGO to pull out of plans to create a health intergroup in the European Parliament
- Juncker's plan would 'shut down environmental policy', campaigners warn Business groups have welcomed Juncker's new 'streamlined' Commission structure, but green campaigners have decried the loss of dedicated environment and climate commissioners.
- National media reaction to Juncker's allocation of portfolios While the division of some of the posts came as a surprise, the reaction from media in the member states has been largely positive.
- Juncker's team Nominees for the European Commission 2014-19 and their assigned portfolios.
Examining the world of public affairs in and around the EU.
- Public affairs is not an exact science
- A decade of change in EU public affairs
- Switching professions: politician to public affairs practitioner
Estimates put the number of lobbyists in Brussels at around 30,000 but calculations of their impact are still more vague.
Public affairs organisations have switched their focus to MEPs and changed their tactics to get the best results.
Do ex-MEPs become lobbyists because they are suited to the task, or because they are unsuitable for anything else?
- Cultural differences affect practices in the public affairs industry Lobbying in Brussels has developed into a unique practice incorporating the norms and regulations of other countries.
- Roman Catholic lobby Spurring the Roman Catholic lobby into action.
- Using social media in public affairs Creating grassroots momentum behind the reform of fisheries rules that was being proposed by the European Commission.
- Data protection and aggressive lobbying The moment that hard-nosed US lobbying arrived in Brussels.
- Making the public affairs sector more transparent The Joint Transparency Register has made the public affairs sector more open, but there are limits to what it can achieve.
- Public affairs: a small revolution, still turning Maros Sefcovic believes that there have been improvements to the conduct of public affairs around the EU.
Exploring EU migration, including what the statistics reveal, how member states are reacting to migration and the need for an EU model to manage it.
- Is the EU experiencing a great migration crisis?
Europeans are unhappy with their governments’ migration policy, and many are blaming the EU.
- Is EU migration getting out of control? The figures on asylum and other forms of migration in the EU are dramatic, but are they still manageable?
- Tough immigration rules threaten economic growth Growing skill shortages and an ageing working force pose problems for growth within the European Union, while emerging economies will ramp up competition for talent and labour.
- Migration: what the polls are saying Opinion polls provide a snapshot of Europe's anti-immigration mood.
- Finding a way to manage migration Trends and policies are converging, but no European model of management has yet emerged.
- Why citizenship matters when it comes to migration Rainer Bauböck, professor of social and political theory at the European University Institute in Florence, tells Toby Vogel why citizenship is an important factor in immigrant integration and outlines some recent changes to the concept of EU citizenship.
Tackling climate change, car-makers concerns and the shift from road to rail.
- Decarbonising road transport: the road to cleaner fuel
- Burden-sharing: is road transport paying its fair share?
- Car CO2 limits – what is feasible?
How can the EU reduce emissions from transport while keeping the economy moving?
Defining the role of industrial sectors in tackling climate change has been a consistently hot topic in recent years.
Carmakers have cried foul about EU plans to limit carbon dioxide emissions from cars, but green groups say that such measures can have impressive results.
Publication of this report has been made possible by the CommentVisions debate series, in partnership with Shell. The sponsor has no control over the content, for which European Voice retains full editorial responsibility.
- In ranking fuel quality, can companies go it alone? The EU is trying to ensure that oil companies play their part in reducing the pollution emitted by transport.
- Stalled biofuel proposal is on the road again Disagreement over the environmental damage caused by certain types of biofuel is provoking warnings of damage to a promising industry.
- Shifting journeys from road to rail The Commission is pushing for a shift from road to rail, but not everyone agrees.
- Clean fuel infrastructure Consumers will not buy expensive electric vehicles if they fear that the distances they can travel will be limited by an absence of recharging or refuelling facilities.
A look at Italy's domestic politics, relationship with the EU and the agenda for the next six months at the helm of the Council of Ministers.
- Right place, right time for Italy?
- Grand ambitions for the Italian presidency
- Italy's agenda
- Italy's domestic politics
- Matteo Renzi – prime minister
Italy’s government will want to show off its strengths during its six months at the helm of the Council, but may be distracted by the EU’s institutional disputes.
According to the Italians, nothing is off-limits for discussion during the next six months, including treaty change.
Italy's priorities at home and at the EU level.
Great things are expected of Matteo Renzi, who has charm as well as a ruthless streak.
Italy's prime minister has momentum. How will he use it?
- Pier Carlo Padoan – Italy's finance minister Renzi plucked his minister of finance from the number two position at the OECD to do a job that few appear prepared to do.
- Federica Mogherini – Italy's foreign minister Italy’s foreign minister comes to office with a strong interest in the Middle East and defence issues.
- Gian Luca Galletti – environment minister Italy's minister for the environment and protection of land and sea
- Federica Guidi – Italy's minister for economic development Guidi is an arrival from the private sector, where she was CEO of a global engineering firm and vice-president of Confindustria.
- Stefano Sannino – permanent representative to the EU Profile of Italy's permanent representative to the EU.
- Italy's environment policy The Italian government has a lot of work to do to improve its environmental record.
- Italy's economy under reform Doubts remain whether Renzi's reforms can stop two decades of decline in the the world's ninth largest economy and fourth largest borrower.
- Italy – a magnet for migrants With more arrivals in the first half of this year than in the entire last year, Italy is determined to discuss the fundamentals of the EU's migration policy.
- Italy: previous presidencies of the EU's Council of Ministers
In the aftermath of the elections to the European Parliament, this special report looks at how the 2014-19 term is shaping up, with country-by-country statistics, political party results and a list of the casualties.
- Grand coalition likely as gap between two main groups narrows
EPP and S&D are the two largest groups, with the other groups having varying degrees of success in the elections.
- How to make friends and influence people The composition of the next European Parliament is far from certain, with several national parties planning to change groups.
- Voter turnout shows negligible improvement on 2009 level The average turnout across Europe was almost exactly the same as in 2009. But rates varied greatly across the EU.
- The electoral fortunes of the EPP and the S&D How did the main centre-right and centre-left groups fare in the European Parliament elections?
- A good election for ALDE, GUE or the ECR? The election fortunes of three groups in the European Parliament.
- How the election went for the Greens, EFD and non-aligned Analysis of the European Parliament election results for two groups and the parties that have yet to find – or don't want to join – a group.
- Room at the top The leadership of the new Parliament will have many new faces.
The European Union was fundamentally changed ten years ago this week with the 'big bang' expansion to 12 countries. How have these countries, and the EU itself, changed since then?
- After the big bang
- Survival instincts
- Eastern promises
1 May marks ten years since the EU’s ‘big bang’ enlargement. How have those countries, and the EU, changed in the past decade?
Cyprus is still feeling the effects of the eurozone crisis, but other countries that joined the EU in 2004 can focus on longer-term economic challenges.
The enlargement of 2004 imported some foreign-policy problems and increased attention to the EU’s eastern neighbours.
- The EU’s numbers game Fears that bringing ten countries into the EU would paralyse the Union have proved unfounded.
- Staffing In 2004, the Council adopted a temporary rule that made it possible to give preference to candidates for the new member states in recruiting for EU posts, for a transitional period that ended on 31 December 2010.
- A decade of consolidation Politics in central and eastern Europe has become significantly more predictable.
- Divided then, divided now Cyprus was a special case among the ten countries that joined the European Union in 2004, and it is a special case still – the only member state of the EU that does not have full control over all its territory.
- More money, more migration Malta’s political leaders have been quick to praise the benefits of European Union membership ahead of the tenth anniversary.
- Tested for resilience After a tough first decade as EU members, leaders of the class of 2004 are Euro-realists keen on consolidation, rather than innovation.
Although European member states have, by global standards, well-developed healthcare systems, equality of access for all is still far from reality. In practice there are considerable variations in care between member states and within each member state.
- The (un)informed patient
Having the correct information about treatment can have life-or-death consequences, but patients are often left in the dark.
- Equal care for all? Much of the national and European policy that this special report examines has relied on a central assumption that greater access to healthcare is both desirable and possible, but is it?
- Healthcare in the time of crisis The financial crisis has put great strains on healthcare systems across the EU.
- Too poor to be treated? There are huge gaps between member states when it comes to healthcare provision.
- Where science leads, legislation tries to follow EU efforts towards a single market for medicines are still facing national obstacles.
- Have sickness, will travel Travelling across borders to receive treatment could become easier under new EU rules, but member states have been slow to transpose the law.
- High hopes for high standards The EU is increasingly looking at ways to improve the quality of care in the member states.
Switzerland's relationship with the EU is at a crossroads, with the country facing a choice of developing closer ties or greater isolation.
- Switzerland: on the outside, looking in
- Time to re-define the EU-Swiss relationship?
- Switzerland: the way ahead
Switzerland's vote to curb immigration suggests that relations with the European Union are close but fragile.
The EU-Switzerland relationship has been put under increasing strain by a Swiss vote to cap migration from the EU.
A strict interpretation of the constitutional amendment would be “incompatible” with the bilateral agreements and the free movement of people between the EU and Switzerland.
- Evolution without membership Referendums in Switzerland and legislative changes in the EU make for a fragile co-operation.
- Switzerland's domestic politics Parties on the right and the left have gained significant support at the expense of the centrists.
- EU membership ‘a threat to direct democracy’ The Swiss habit of voting on all sorts of policy questions would be curtailed.
- Blocher to concentrate on anti-EU fight Christoph Blocher to step down from the federal parliament after almost 35 years.
- Taxing times for the Swiss Switzerland has made major concessions on tax transparency, but how much further will it go?
- A show of economic strength The Swiss economy has weathered recent economic storms thanks to a strong currency and the health of its close neighbours.
- Swiss private banks look for new opportunities Many Swiss lenders are looking to put tax evasion investigations behind them to concentrate on their core business,
Sponsored ContentEU-Switzerland – a changing relationship
An interview with Alexis Lautenberg, chairman of the Swiss Finance Council.
On 2-3 April, the Council of Ministers' building in Brussels will be stuffed full with delegates attending a summit meeting of the European Union's member states with more than 50 African nations. The EU-Africa summit brings together two continents in one building that is barely equal to the task.
- Requiem for a futurologist? How far the vision for Africa is from the status quo.
- Beyond the mines and fields Africa has grown faster than Asia for five years but can the momentum be maintained.
- When things fall apart The EU is investing heavily in African efforts to reduce insecurity.
- The fast-growing cradle of humanity Considering the EU’s response to the challenge of giving Africans better prospects at home.
- Important figures
- No longer ill at ease? The EU and Africa are working to make their relationship more effective.
- The long walk to normality What type of partnership is the European Union offering Africa?