Balance of power in EC top management shows geographical divides

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Despite the rocky start of the Parliamentary vetting process, the new College of Commissioners led by Ursula von der Leyen is still expected to take office before the end of the year. While often sneered as ‘faceless Eurocrats’ by its staunchest critics, the College of Commissioners is mostly composed of career politicians whose task is to provide political impetus to the powerful executive machine of the EU, which is currently made up of about 30.000 civil servants.  Continue Reading

Rejection of two EC nominees: political takeaways on the new balance of power

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

The confirmation process of the new College of Commissioners got off to a rocky start, after the Committee on Legal Affairs refused to green-light two Commissioners-designate (Rovana Plumb from Romania – S&D – and László Trócsányi from Hungary – EPP) for alleged conflicts of interest.

This is highly relevant for stakeholders as it showcases how the political battles ahead will look like: 

1) Protection by traditional political families is now less effective

The content of the arguments used for the rejection is, of course, relevant, but since the subject is brought to the interpretation of fellow politicians (as opposed to independent judges), it is difficult to overlook the political considerations of parties. Continue Reading

Does Weber have enough support to become President of the European Commission?

Did you know that? Independent studies place VoteWatch as the platform most followed by the Members of the European Parliament and our reports are regularly re-quoted by reputed institutions and the international media (The Economist, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, La Stampa, Politico, CNN, New York Times etc.).

We all knew that Manfred Weber was an ambitious politician. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: the outlook for EU-Colombia relations in an increasingly divided world

By Carolina Chaparro Alba

The increasingly assertive behavior of the US administration and of other major powers such as Russia and China,  is posing a challenge to the clout of the EU in the world. While also facing the rise of nationalist forces across the European continent, the EU executive branch is becoming more isolated in its promotion of a consensus-driven approach to internal relations. Continue Reading

Survey results: who will lead the EU after 2019?

How will the EU institutions look like after the 2019 reshuffle? This is the question on everyone’s mind in Brussels, but the answers differ based on the information that one has (one’s personal mini-bubble). In order to get an overview of the expectations of the EU affairs community as a whole,  VoteWatch Europe has surveyed more than 1.000 members of the broader ‘EU bubble’ (which also includes national civil servants, whose views are more reflective of the different national perspectives) for their views regarding the reallocation of top EU positions in 2019 (Presidencies of European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and European Central Bank). Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Brazil’s Ambassador to EU on the future of EU-Mercosur relations

 Against the background of rising trade protectionism (which led to the deadlock of the EU-US trade deal – TTIP), the Europeans try to look for traction elsewhere. After 17 years since the negotiations between the EU and Mercosur started, all the cards are finally on the table.  With a market of more than 250 million people, Mercosur is gaining more and more the attention of the European investors.  Continue Reading

How EU’s political dynamics impact China’s trade interests

The trade defense reform recently proposed by the European Commission is directly aiming at limiting Chinese exports to the EU, a creative way to avoid frontal collision with WTO regulations. This strategy has gained momentum especially after the Brexit referendum, as this is removing a key ally of China from the EU power game: the UK has been the most pro free-trade EU government and British leaders have fought, from inside the EU institutions, to block protectionist moves by the EU. Continue Reading

Why Central Asia is a key area for the EU during Trump’s America

The astonishing result of the recent American Presidential election still reverberates across Europe and the World. Donald Trump has been seen by most foreign policy experts as an isolationist, who will (partially) withdraw the US from the realm of international diplomacy. Some European leaders have immediately indicated that this is a clear signal that the EU should get its act together and start to exert real leadership at a global level. Continue Reading

Setting the advocacy bar high for social NGOs

Business People. Successful Business Partner Shaking Hands in the office. Business Team

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social platform

By Helen Joseph, Social Platform

Pushing forward the European Union’s social agenda is easier said than done, as pretty much any social NGO will testify. Considered an area of ‘soft power’, the lack of EU assertiveness on social affairs is even reflected in our own lexicon, with social NGOs always ‘advocating’ for things rather than ‘lobbying’ like our private sector counterparts. Continue Reading