August 12, 2004

New European Commission line up

Since the Erika and Prestige incidents, the European Commission has been extremely proactive in the area of maritime legislation and regulation.

That's unlikely to change, but with the enlargement of the EU to 25 countries, a changing of the guard is currently under way in Brussels.

The Commission has a new President-designate, José Manuel Barroso of Spain, and today he announced his line up of new commissioners with new responsibilities and new portfolios.

The new Commission will take office on November 1, subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The European Parliament can only vote on the whole body and not on individual Commissioners

In the new lineup, three to watch from the point of view of shipbuilding and maritime operations will likely be :

Günter VERHEUGEN, is named Vice President ,Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. The former Enterprise directorate handled the Leadership 2015 program aimed at boosting European shipbuilding, so presumably Verheugen inherits it. He is German and has been recycled from the previous Commission where his portfolio was Enlargement of the EU.

Jacques BARROT is named Vice President , Commissioner for Transport.

He takes over half the Loyola de Palacio empire, as the Energy portfolio has now been split off. His resonsibilities will include EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency). He's French and is another retread from the former Commission, where his responsibility was regional policy.

Joe BORG, is named Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs. But don't let the "Maritime Affairs" part of the title mislead you. It refers to the non-transportation aspects of matters maritime. His responsibilities include Fisheries, Coordination of maritime affairs and chairing a Commission Taskforce to develop a Green Paper on Maritime Policy. He is Maltese and the former Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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