The New European Commission: a Closer Look at President Juncker’s Visi...

The New European Commission: a Closer Look at President Juncker’s Vision for the EU Internal Market and Economic and Monetary Union

23 October 14

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Following approval of the College of Commissioners by the European Parliament on 22 October 2014, the new European Commission led by President Jean-Claude Juncker takes office on 1 November 2014 for a five-year term. (It is expected that at its meeting taking place on 23 and 24 October 2014, the European Council, i.e. the Heads of State or Government of the European Union (EU) Member States, formally appoints the new Commission.) Details on the process of the appointment of the Commission are set out in Article 17 of the consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).

The European Commission represents the general interest of the EU. The Commission is the driving force in proposing EU legislation, (to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU representing EU governments), administering and implementing EU policies, enforcing EU law, (jointly with the Court of Justice), and negotiating in the international arena.

The European Commission is also a principal driver of the Single Euro Payments Area () initiative aimed at furthering the integration of the internal market and strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union. For more information on the European Commission’s role in , refer to the following sources:

  • Newsletter article (October 2013): Fact Check: The Benefits Projected by Governments, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (1999 - 2013).
  • Blog (30 September 2014): The New European Commission is Expected to Take Office on 1 November 2014. A Recap of the Role of the European Commission in the Evolution of Credit Transfer and Direct Debit.
  • European Commission Website: the Commission’s role in .
  • infographic ‘ at a Glance’: it provides an overview of the actors involved at the European level and their interaction.

This blog takes a first look at the following projects of the incoming Juncker Commission, which can be expected to impact the further integration of the euro payments market: ‘A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union’; ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’ and ‘A Connected Digital Single Market’. Sources cited in this blog are included in the ‘related links’ below.

Vice-Presidents will lead project teams, steering and coordinating the work of a number of Commissioners

Each new Commissioner, one from each country, is assigned responsibility for a specific policy area. Details are set out in the European Commission memo, entitled ‘Questions and Answers: The Juncker Commission’ published on 10 September 2014. Vice-Presidents will steer and coordinate the work of project teams supported by Commissioners responsible for specific portfolios. According to information made available by the European Commission, a “Commissioner will depend on the support of a Vice-President to bring a new initiative into the Commission Work Programme or on to the College Agenda. At the same time, a Vice-President will depend on his or her project team Commissioners’ contributions to successfully complete the project assigned to him or her”.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-institutional Relations, the Rule of Law, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-institutional Relations, the Rule of Law, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In his mission letter to Frans Timmermans, President Juncker states: “We cannot and should not do everything: I want the European Commission to be bigger and more ambitious on big things, and smaller and more modest on small things.” First Vice-President Timmermans therefore, should coordinate “the work on better regulation within the Commission, ensuring the compliance of EU proposals with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and working with the European Parliament and the Council [of the EU] to remove unnecessary ‘red tape’ at both European and national level.”

The principle of subsidiarity (Article 5 TEU) is fundamental to the functioning of the , and more specifically to European decision-making. It aims to determine the level of intervention that is most relevant in the areas of competences shared between the and the Member States. This may concern action at European, national or local levels. In all cases, the may only intervene if it is able to act more effectively than Member States. The Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality lays down three criteria aimed at establishing the desirability of intervention at European level:

  • Does the action have transnational aspects that cannot be resolved by Member States?
  • Would national action or an absence of action be contrary to the requirements of the Treaty?
  • Does action at European level have clear advantages?

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, leads the project team ‘A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union’

The European Commission Website explains that all EU Member States form part of the Economic and Monetary Union, “which can be described as an advanced stage of economic integration based on a single market”. It involves close coordination of economic and fiscal policies and, for those countries fulfilling certain conditions, a single monetary policy and a single currency – the euro. According to the European Commission’s memo published on 10 September 2014, “the Commission must continue with the reform of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union to preserve the stability of the euro.” Valdis Dombrowskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, leads the project team ‘A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union’. He will be tasked, among other things, with “coordinating, presenting and implementing initiatives to enhance the convergence of economic, fiscal and labour market policies between the Member States that share the euro.”

In his mission letter to Valdis Dombrowskis, President Juncker points out that the Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue will steer and coordinate the work of, among others, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs; Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; and Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, leads the project team ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’

The European Commission’s memo of 10 September 2014 states that “one of the Commission’s top priorities will be to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and to stimulate investment and create jobs”. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen leads the project team ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’. In his mission letter, President Juncker invites Vice-President Katainen, among other things, to coordinate the “mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and help ensure progress towards EU targets in this field,” and to work “closely with the Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue to ensure that the EU’s economic policy coordination is effective and successful, in line with the goals of our social market economy. This includes the pursuit of a strong structural reform agenda, all the while paying attention to the social impact of reforms”. Keeping “the competitiveness dimension prominently at the heart of the Commission’s policy work”, Vice-President Katainen will also help with improving “the business environment in order to strengthen Europe as an attractive place to work and invest”.

President Juncker points out that Vice President Katainen will steer and coordinate the work of, among others, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs; Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union; and Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, leads the project team ‘A Connected Digital Single Market’

In his mission letter to Andrus Ansip, President Juncker invites the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market to deliver, “within the first six months of the mandate, ambitious legislative steps towards a connected Digital Single Market, notably by adding more ambition to the ongoing reform of our telecoms rules, modernising copyright rules in the light of the ongoing digital revolution – taking full account of Europe’s rich cultural diversity – and modernising and simplifying consumer rules for online and digital purchases. This should be based on a clear assessment of the main obstacles still to be removed and the formulation of a clear long-term strategy for the Digital Single Market.” Vice-President Ansip will lead the project team ‘A Connected Digital Single Market’. Within his area of responsibility, he will steer and coordinate the work of, among others, Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society; Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; and Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.

New European Commissioners supporting project teams focusing on ‘A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union’, ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’ and ‘A Connected Digital Single Market’

The following new European Commissioners with responsibilities in areas impacting financial services named here, among others, will support the project teams focusing on ‘A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union’, ‘A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’ and ‘A Connected Digital Single Market’:

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. In his mission letter, President Juncker points out that Commissioner Bieńkowska will contribute, in particular, “to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness and the Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, as well as the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Vice-President for Energy Union.” One area of focus should be “supporting the work of the first Vice-President, in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to deliver on our better regulation agenda.” President Juncker’s mission letter to Commissioner Bieńkowska also states: “To help you fulfil your responsibilities, the Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services (DG MARKT) and the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) will be merged and will report to you.” (The European Commission is divided into several departments and services. The departments are known as Directorates-General (DGs).)

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs. According to the European Commission’s memo published on 10 September 2014, “the Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue (Valdis Dombrovskis) and the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs (Pierre Moscovici) will work in a spirit of collegiality and mutual dependence”. In his mission letter, President Juncker invites Commissioner Moscovici, among other things, to pay “specific attention to the stability of the single currency and fiscal policies within the euro area”. President Juncker’s mission letter also says: “To help you fulfil your responsibilities, the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), with some adjustments (…) and the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs (DG TAXUD) will report to you.”

Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. In his mission letter to Commissioner Hill, President Juncker states: “You will, in particular, contribute to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness and the Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue.” Commissioner Hill is tasked with, among other things, ensuring that “the financial services regulatory framework takes into account the needs and interests of consumers and retail investors and proposing any necessary measures to make financial services work better for citizens,” and that “the financial services regulatory reform agenda, including the accompanying delegated/implementing acts” is achieved in a timely and effective manner. He will also, as part of the project team steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, “ensure the safety and the modernisation of the Union’s regulatory framework on digital/electronic payments in order to facilitate online purchases. The safety and appropriateness of certain virtual currencies should also be assessed and, where appropriate, relevant policy measures should be proposed.” “To help you fulfil your responsibilities,” President Juncker adds, “a new Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union will report to you.”

Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. In his mission letter, President Juncker invites Commissioner Oettinger to “work with the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market on a plan to make the a leader in cyber security preparedness and trustworthy ICT, and to increase the confidentiality of communications”. In addition, Commissioner Oettinger will support the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in finalising the negotiations “on an ambitious Data Protection Regulation in 2015”. On the basis of the outcome of this legislative process, he will “prepare a reform of the e-Privacy Directive, liaising closely with the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, with the support of the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality”. President Juncker adds: “To help you fulfil your responsibilities, the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), with some adjustments (…) and the Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT) will report to you.”

Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition. In his mission letter to Margrethe Vestager, President Juncker points out: “You will, in particular, contribute to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Vice-President for Energy Union.” President Juncker further clarifies that competition policy “is one of the areas where the Commission has exclusive competence and action in this field will be key to the success of our jobs and growth agenda. It should contribute to steering innovation and making markets deliver clear benefits to consumers, businesses and society as a whole”. President Juncker invites Commissioner Vestager to focus, among other things, “on mobilising competition policy tools and market expertise so that they contribute, as appropriate, to our jobs and growth agenda” in areas such as the digital single market and financial services. The Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) will report to Commissioner Vestager.

Whether or not will deliver on its potential also depends on the institutions and governments adhering to a harmonised vision of who should do what to achieve ‘ 2.0’

As outlined above, President Juncker stressed that “coordinating, presenting and implementing initiatives to enhance the convergence of economic, fiscal and labour market policies between the Member States that share the euro” is a principal objective of the new European Commission. The Commission will therefore, continue to play a principal role in the further integration of the euro payments market.

The European Payments Council (), (which is not part of the EU institutional framework), suggests that possible duplication of efforts aimed at bringing about ‘ 2.0’ by the new Euro Retail Payments Board chaired by the European Central Bank, the Commission and other regulatory bodies be avoided. The looks forward to the continued dialogue with all stakeholders on the most appropriate next steps to ensure an efficient and secure landscape that responds to market needs.

Related links:

European Parliament Press Release (22 October 2014): Parliament Elects New European Commission 

EPC Blog (30 September 2014): The New European Commission is Expected to Take Office on 1 November 2014. A Recap of the Role of the European Commission in the Evolution of SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit 

EPC Newsletter (July 2014): SEPA 2.0: an Overview of Regulatory Action Now in the Pipeline Impacting the European Payments Market Going Forward 

EPC Newsletter (October 2013): SEPA Fact Check – The SEPA Benefits Projected by EU Governments, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (1999 - 2013)  

EPC Website: SEPA at a Glance – the Infographic (this infographic provides an overview of the actors involved in the process at the European level and their interaction) 

European Commission Website: Commission’s Role in SEPA 

European Commission Website: the Euro (includes information on the Economic and Monetary Union) 

European Commission Website: Towards the Juncker Commission 

European Commission Website (Towards the Juncker Commission): The New Structure of the Juncker Commission 

European Commission Memo (10 September 2014): Questions and Answers: The Juncker Commission 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President in Charge of Better Regulation, Inter-institutional Relations, the Rule of Law, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue (Project Team: A Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union) 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness (Project Team: A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment) 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market (Project Team: A Connected Digital Single Market) 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Pierre MoscoviciCommissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society 

European Commission President Juncker’s Mission Letter to Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition 

European Parliamentary Research Service: #EPHearings2014: Meet the Commissioners-designate! 

European Parliament Website: Towards a New Commission 

European Parliament Website: Legislative Powers 

European Council Website (the European Council consists of the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, together with its President and the President of the European Commission) 

Council of the European Union Website (the Council of the European Union (EU) is the EU institution where the EU Member States’ government representatives sit, i.e. the ministers of each EU Member State with responsibility for a given policy area) 

European Union Website: EU Treaties 

Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union (p. 13) and Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (p. 47) 

European Central Bank Website: Governance (includes detailed information on the Euro Retail Payments Board () and related documentation)



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