New EU Commission: no easy choices

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is screening nominees for the EU Commission in a first round this week. Von der Leyen has insisted that the next Commission must respect gender parity. Member states have until the end of August to name their candidates - and are faced with very different challenges.

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Prague's choice has proven her worth

The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has offered Ursula von der Leyen Czech Commissioner Věra Jourová for a further term of office. Lidové noviny approves:

“Von der Leyen may like the proposal since Jourová is already experienced. ... Admittedly Babiš wants Jourová, who was responsible for consumer protection, to be given a more powerful portfolio. For example digitalisation, the single market or trade. He makes his case on the basis of the strength of the Czech economy. ... Moreover, Jourová did such a good job with her previous portfolio that she was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.”

Lietuvos rytas (LT) /

Lithuania doesn't want to offer women candidates

Vilnius still hasn't proposed any candidates for the post of EU Commissioner. The head of the governing Farmers and Greens Union, Ramūnas Karbauskis, has let it be known that a woman candidate is not even under discussion. That's appalling, writes Lietuvos rytas:

“The governing majority is incapable of nominating a woman. Although everyone knows that the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to ensure gender equality, and that she is asking each country to propose both a man and a woman. But no, Karbauskis stresses that we will nominate anyone we please, that we won't let Europe push us around and we couldn't care less about gender equality.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Estonia's candidate comes across as dishonest

Kadri Simson, Tallinn's candidate, is controversial because of a scandal over several holidays she went on with her partner. He had claimed expenses for the holidays as business trips. Simson also once explained her absence from parliament with illness while in fact she was on holiday in the Caribbean. Eesti Päevaleht notes:

“Members of the EU Commission are expected to meet 'higher standards of ethical behaviour'. ... Back when the scandal first began Simson could simply have said that because [her partner] Soorm has such a high income she wasn't aware that her trips were paid for illegally. But she didn't. Instead she tried to pretend she was completely innocent, which only caused her more problems. Because Simson has refused to make a statement on this affair all her public appearances now seem dishonest.”