Von der Leyen Commission

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Von der Leyen Commission
Flag of Europe.svg
7th Commission of the European Union
2017-09-24 Ursula von der Leyen by Sandro Halank.jpg
President Ursula von der Leyen (EPP, GER)
Date formed1 December 2019
People and organisations
Head of Commission
Deputy Head of Commission
No. of commissioners28
Member parties
Status in legislature
  • 444 / 751
  • Coalition:
    •      EPP (182)
    •      S&D (154)
    •      RE (108)
  • Supported by (unofficially):
Election(s)2019 European Parliament election
Legislature term(s)Ninth
Budget(s)€165.8 billion (2019)
PredecessorJuncker Commission

The von der Leyen Commission is the current European Commission, in office since 1 December 2019. Its president is Ursula von der Leyen, who presides over a commission composed of one commissioner from each of the states composing the European Union, except Germany, which is von der Leyen's member state. The United Kingdom has no commissioner due to its planned withdrawal from the European Union.

The Commission was scheduled to take office on 1 November 2019; having the French, Hungarian and Romanian commissioner-candidates lost their confirmation votes by the European Parliament in early October 2019,[1] new commissioners had to be selected from those three member states by the President-elect and subsequently confirmed by the Parliament. This process took place in November 2019 and the Commission eventually took office in its entirety on 1 December 2019.[2]

Election and formation[edit]

Von der Leyen was selected and proposed to the European Parliament by the European Council on 3 July 2019 following a three day long negotiations between leaders of the member states. Von der Leyen faced many critics, especially by MEPs since the European Council ignored the so-called spitzenkandidat system when choosing candidate for the position.

On 16 July 2019, European Parliament took a vote on the proposal by the European Council and elected Von der Leyen with 383 votes (374 votes needed). Before the vote von der Leyen had a declared support of three largest political groups in the Parliament (EPP, S&D and RE), and during the debate conservative Polish party Law and Justice (PiS) with 24 MEPs, and Italian Five Stars Movement (M5S) with 14 MEPs declared their support for von der Leyen. Based on the result of the vote nearly 100 MEPs of the unofficial grand coalition EPP-S&D-RE did not vote for Von der Leyen. Based on the debate and public announcements of the MEPs most of the MEPs voting against von der Leyen probably came from S&D group, part of which is also German Social Democratic Party which publicly opposed Von der Leyen due to her work as German Defence Minister.[3]

Following her election, President of the European Council Donald Tusk asked von der Leyen to give her consent on appointing Josep Borrell of Spain the next EU High Representative. Consent was given on 26 July 2019, following which, the European Council officially appointed Borrell the next High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on 5 August 2019.[4][5][6] Borrell is to be officially nominated by the Spanish government and has to pass the vote of the European Parliament AFET Committee after a hearing before the same committee.

The Commission was approved by European Parliament on 27 November 2019, receiving 461 votes, with 157 against and 89 abstentions. EPP, S&D, Renew Europe and half of ECR voted in favour. Greens/EFA abstained.[7]


Even before von der Leyen's confirmation, she pledged to rename Frans Timmermans, the spitzenkandidat of the Party of European Socialists (PES), as the First Vice President. Margrethe Vestager, one of the leading candidates of the Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE), as said by von der Leyen will become Vice President as well, having de facto equal position to that of Timmermans. Other names have been mentioned by various news outlets as candidates. Some of the member states have already submitted the official nominations to the President-in-office of the Council of the EU.

President-elect requested that member states each propose two candidates, one of each gender, so it would be easier to form a gender balanced commission. So far, only Portugal and Romania have followed the request, while other countries nominated only one candidate. France's Thierry Breton was the last candidate to be designated on 24 October 2019 by Emmanuel Macron.

Commissioners-designate of the Von der Leyen Commission
Commissioner Portfolio[8] EU Party (Nat. Party) Member State[a] Date of official nomination Ref.
Ursula von der Leyen President EPP
 Germany 2 July 2019 (by the European Council) [9][10]
Frans Timmermans European Green Deal (First Vice President and Executive Vice President) PES
 Netherlands [9][10]
Margrethe Vestager A Europe Fit for the Digital Age (Executive Vice President) ALDE
 Denmark 1 August 2019 [9][11][12][10]
Valdis Dombrovskis An Economy That Works for People (Executive Vice President) EPP
 Latvia 23 July 2019 [9][13][10]
Josep Borrell Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Vice President) PES
 Spain [9][4][5][6][10]
Maroš Šefčovič Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight (Vice President) PES
 Slovakia 19 July 2019 [9][14][10]
Věra Jourová Values and Transparency (Vice President) ALDE
 Czech Republic [15][10]
Dubravka Šuica Democracy and Demography (Vice President) EPP
 Croatia [16][10]
Margaritis Schinas Promoting the European Way of Life (Vice President) EPP
 Greece 23 July 2019 [17][18][10]
Johannes Hahn Budget and Administration EPP
 Austria 22 July 2019 [19][20][10]
Phil Hogan Trade EPP
 Ireland 31 July 2019 [9][21]
Mariya Gabriel Innovation and Youth EPP
 Bulgaria 23 July 2019 [9][22][10]
Nicolas Schmit Jobs and Social Rights PES
 Luxembourg [9][10]
Paolo Gentiloni Economy PES
 Italy 5 September 2019 [23][10]
Janusz Wojciechowski Agriculture ECR
 Poland [24][10]
Elisa Ferreira Cohesion and Reforms PES
 Portugal [25] [26][10]
Olivér Várhelyi Neighbourhood and Enlargement Ind.  Hungary [9][10]
Stella Kyriakidou Health EPP
 Cyprus 23 July 2019 [9][27][10]
Didier Reynders Justice ALDE
 Belgium [28][10]
Adina Vălean Transport EPP
 Romania [29][10]
Helena Dalli Equality PES
 Malta [30][10]
Thierry Breton Internal Market Ind.  France 24 October 2019 [31][10]
Ylva Johansson Home Affairs PES
 Sweden [32][10]
Janez Lenarčič Crisis Management ALDE
 Slovenia 26 July 2019 [33][34][10]
Jutta Urpilainen International Partnerships PES
 Finland 22 July 2019 [35][36][10]
Kadri Simson Energy ALDE
 Estonia 22 July 2019 [37][38][10]
Virginijus Sinkevičius Environment, Oceans and Fisheries None
 Lithuania [39][10]

Commission departments[edit]

Result of the election of the Commission, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, 27 November 2019


Directorate-Generals of the Von der Leyen Commission
Directorate-Generals Relevant Commissioner
Name Abbr.
Agriculture and Rural Development AGRI Janusz Wojciechowski
Budget BUDG Johannes Hahn
Climate Action CLIMA Frans Timmermans
Communications Networks, Content and Technology CNCT
Communication COMM Ursula von der Leyen
Competition COMP Margrethe Vestager
Defence Industry and Space '
Economic and Financial Affairs ECFIN Paolo Gentiloni
Education, Youth, Sport and Culture EAC Mariya Gabriel
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion EMPL Nicolas Schmit
Energy ENER Kadri Simson
Environment ENV Virginijus Sinkevičius
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations ECHO Janez Lenarčič
European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations NEAR
Eurostat - European statistics EUROSTAT Paolo Gentiloni
Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union FISMA Valdis Dombrovskis
Health and Food Safety SANTE Stella Kyriakides
Human Resources and Security HR Johannes Hahn
Informatics DIGIT Johannes Hahn
Internal Audit Service IAS Didier Reynders
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs GROW
International Cooperation and Development DEVCO Jutta Urpilainen
Interpretation SCIC Johannes Hahn
Joint Research Centre JRC Mariya Gabriel
Justice and Consumers JUST Didier Reynders & Helena Dalli
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries MARE Virginijus Sinkevičius
Migration and Home Affairs HOME Ylva Johansson
Mobility and Transport MOVE
Regional and Urban Policy REGIO Elisa Ferreira
Structural Reform Support Elisa Ferreira
Research and Innovation RTD Mariya Gabriel
Taxation and Customs Union TAXUD Paolo Gentiloni
Trade TRADE Phil Hogan
Translation DGT Johannes Hahn

Executive agencies and service departments[edit]

Executive agencies[edit]

Executive agencies of the Von der Leyen Commission
Executive Agency Head
Name Abbr.
Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency CHAFEA
Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency EACEA
European Research Council Executive Agency ERCEA
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises EASME
Research Executive Agency REA

Service departments[edit]

Service departments of the Von der Leyen Commission
Service department Head
Name Abbr.
Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements PMO
Data Protection Officer DPO
European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF
European Personnel Selection Office EPSO
European Political Strategy Centre EPSC
Foreign Policy Instruments FPI
Historical Archives Service
Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels OIB
Infrastructure and Logistics in Luxembourg OIL
Innovation and Networks Executive Agency INEA
Internal Audit Service IAS
Legal Service SJ
Library and e-Resources Centre
Publications Office OP
Secretariat-General SG
Structural Reform Support Service SRSS
Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Selection of the candidate for president[edit]

Following the 2014 European Election example, main European political parties named so called spitzenkandidaten or leading candidates who were parties' candidates to become the next president of the European Commission. All of the parties named one, some of them two candidates, while Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) officially opposing the system of spitzenkandidaten introduced "Team Europe" composing of several high-ranking European politicians. Other parties however perceived those candidates, especially Margrethe Vestager of Denmark, as leading candidates.

Leading candidates were:

Party Leading candidates
European People's Party Germany Manfred Weber
Party of European Socialists Netherlands Frans Timmermans
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Germany Nicola Beer
Italy Emma Bonino
Slovenia Violeta Bulc
Hungary Katalin Cseh
Spain Luis Garicano
Belgium Guy Verhofstadt
Denmark Margrethe Vestager
Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe Czech Republic Jan Zahradil
European Green Party Netherlands Bas Eickhout
Germany Ska Keller
Party of the European Left Slovenia Violeta Tomić
Belgium Nico Cué

After winning 2019 European election European People's Party claimed that the position of the President of the European Commission should be given to them and wanted their leading candidate Manfred Weber in that position. However, Weber faced strong opposition by the ALDE Party and liberal-leaning French President Emmanuel Macron and also by the Party of European Socialists (PES). Main reason for opposing Weber was his lack of experience, since Weber only served as MEP before and never held any governmental position.[40] PES strongly supported the candidature of Frans Timmermans, who also had support of ALDE members of the European Council, with exception of the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is member of the Visegrad Four, that strongly opposed Timmermans, mainly because of his support for migration quotas and inability to reach compromises.[41] ALDE Party wanted to see Margrethe Vestager taking the top Commission job.

The first European Council meeting was held on 20 and 21 June 2019, bringing no decision on distribution of "EU top jobs". President Donald Tusk summoned leader again for a special meeting from 30 June until 2 July 2019, when it was decided that Ursula von der Leyen (EPP) will be nominated as the next President of the European Commission. The negotiations lasted for three days. It soon became clear that EPP gave up on Weber becoming the President of the Commission and it seemed that Timmermans will be nominated, especially after he met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov at the Bulgarian Embassy in Belgium during the meeting of the European Council. Naming Timmermans President of the European Commission was a part of the so-called Osaka deal, plan that was formed by EU leaders during the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Giuseppe Conte, Donald Tusk, Mark Rutte and Pedro Sánchez). However, the opposition from Visegrad Four, now joined by Croatia and Italy was still strong and it became clear that Timmermans cannot win the majority in the Council. Other names were mentioned during the negotiations, including Michel Barnier, Kristalina Georgieva and Andrej Plenković. For the Plenković's candidature it became clear after the Council ended that his name was introduced by Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr who is Plenković's close friend. The candidature was rejected by Macron opposing the personal ambitions of leaders.[42] Name of Ursula von der Leyen was a surprise and she faced many critics, mainly because she was not the leading candidate. The German Social Democratic Party, member of the German government coalition, opposed Von der leyen due to her work as minister of defence, which resulted in the German Chancellor Angela Merkel's abstention during the Council's vote on the proposal. All other European Council members voted in favor.


With the three month Brexit delay requested, the United Kingdom has not yet nominated any British commissioner. This is a unique event with no precedent in the history of the European Union. Von der Leyen had to formally request the British government nominate an EU commissioner. She also asked the legal service if the Commission could operate without a British commissioner. Some MEPs have suggested the possibility of a vote to allow the EU Commission to operate without a British commissioner.[43]


  1. ^ No nominee was proposed by the United Kingdom


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