A lot of attention this week has centred on the “who got what” allocation of portfolios in Jean-Claude Juncker’s new Commission. But ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Josef Janning writes that the real story has been the Commission President’s attempt to square the circle between the Commission’s dysfunctional oversize and the insistence that each member state sends a commissioner to Brussels. He points out that six vice-presidents and the High Representative will be responsible for cross-cutting major policy fields and that they will each lead a cluster of commissioners.
In his blog post ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Nick Witney writes that under this new decentralised approach, the new Commission Vice-President and High Representative, Federica Mogherini, is empowered to “guide the work” of the aid, development, enlargement/neighbourhood, and trade commissioners. Nick Witney says if this can be made to stick in practice, then Juncker will have substantially strengthened the hand of the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
The head of ECFR’s Rome office Silvia Francescon writes that Italy is well positioned geographically to represent the EU’s interests with Federica Mogherini, at a time where tumult has spread through the southern neighbourhood and crises in the east raise energy supply concerns. Blog posts from Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands further dissect Juncker’s new Commission.
As the independence referendum for Scotland draws closer, ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Sebastian Dullien writes that an independent Scotland would have four basic options for a currency regime and that euro membership might be among the country’s more attractive choices.
In her commentary Maria Lipman notes that Vladimir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy is playing well at home. Two-thirds of Russians now believe their country is on the right track and that ever since the annexation of Crimea, for five straight months now, Putin’s personal approval rating has been over 80 percent.
Last but not least, François Godement finds that the new Commission and High representative could use the ground-level engagement between the EU and China as a model, with public and private institutions favouring long-term progress over short-term interest and behaving in an even-handed way.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of its individual authors.