politjobs.eu job alert – Brussels almost as usual: power games, personnel decisions, tech problems

The very first woman at the helm of the European Commission – that’s the outcome of the more or less only game in town over the past two weeks. After much discussion about how much democratic legitimacy the Spitzenkandidaten principle yields that the Heads of State quickly put to bed this time around, the choice of German Ursula von der Leyen (or now nicknamed VDL) was overall widely greeted as a good choice under suboptimal circumstances – even by the European Parliament that elected her into office with a very thin majority of 9 votes.

The first – and obvious – price to pay is the head of Martin Selmayr. His way from Juncker’s chief of cabinet into the position of Commission Secretary General was even more contested than VDL’s and his departure as of next week a welcome side effect for the European Parliament and possibly a few more.

Other concessions may well change Brussels decision-making processes: the incoming Commission President promised the Parliament to initiate legislation upon initiative of the European Parliament, thereby de facto granting the most important right the Parliament has so far been missing. Whether this is really a good move, given this extremely diverse Parliament with quite a few radical voices amongst its ranks, remains to be seen.

One signal for this Parliament to live up to its responsibility has already been given: Members of the European Parliament voted their committee chairs and vice chairs and successfully kept the Far Right from chairing the mighty agriculture committee as well as the Legal Affairs committee.

Meanwhile, other politicians have time to work again: Margrethe Vestager, now a firm candidate for second vice president in the European Commission and currently still Competition Commissioner, is going after Amazon, with a formal investigation on the giant’s dual role as a reseller and as a platform. Observers are keen on an EU decision clarifying what online intermediary platforms are allowed to do.

Less of a success story is the European satellite system Galileo these days. In fact, it is down since July 11 for mysterious and still neither identified nor rectified reasons – even worse: nobody has really noticed. So much for the true GPS alternative, although to be fair, the US GPS system has also suffered some issues across a number of countries in the Middle East. Whilst Israeli media were quick to blame the Russians, European officials believe in technical problems. Not sure what is better.

If technical, Russian or otherwise political interference do not scare you away from seeking to become a part of this world, find attached some jobs and as usual more on politjobs.eu!

Irina Michalowitz

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18. July 2019