politjobs.eu job alert – Moving targets in Brussels: from a new Commission to new governments and Brexit

Should the EU Heads of State have naively hoped for somewhat smooth approvals of their Commission candidates, Members of the European Parliament made sure to remind them of their power: apart from the almost usual two Eastern European victims, French candidates Sylvie Goulard was ousted – leaving a very unhappy Emmanuel Macron, the need for a new French candidate and the question when we will actually have a new European Commission. The problem that the Romanian government collapsed and we have no idea who should nominate which new candidate does not help either – the only thing certain at this point is that the new Commission will not start working on 1 November.

Another moving target is and remains Brexit. Whilst the EU side is by no means satisfied with the latest British proposals – and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was very clear about it, setting the deadline for some useful text at midnight 15 October, Johnson had the Queen deliver his ideas to the British parliament, with no majority for any of them in sight. If nothing else, the interested public got another glimpse at how the British monarchy works.

Still having to demonstrate that it can work is an incoming Austrian government, and since nothing else really moves at EU level, we can afford a deeper look into the member states: Elections after “Ibiza Gate“ led to a situation where ÖVP leader and former chancellor Sebastian Kurz could most easily form a coalition with the extreme right FPÖ – which had caused the new elections and has consequently lost an enormous amount of votes – ; then with the social democrat party SPÖ – that also had a historical loss in votes – or with the two winners of the elections – the Austrian Greens and the Liberals, whose political ideas are as far as they can go from those of the conservative ÖVP.

Austria is much further than Romania though – a no-confidence vote ended the Social Democrat PSD governmental period that was accompanied by a series of corruption scandals, street protests and stark criticism from Brussels over judicial reforms. The problem seems that all other parties could unite to get rid of the current government – but not on any working coalition, which leaves Brussels wondering which new Romanian government to work with when.

No coalition problems arise for the Polish right-wing populist PiS party, which secured a safe majority in the Polish lower house and will have a bit more negotiating to do in the upper house, but not enough to move Polish positions into a more moderate and EU-compatible direction.

Hence political life in Brussels promises to remain interesting – no matter which EU institution you look at. If this world excites you, find some jobs attached and as usual more on politjobs.eu!

Irina Michalowitz

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16. October 2019