The new European Commission began work on November 1st, 2014. Just a few days after the European Parliament approved the new EC and shortly before the inauguration of the new 28, we discussed the challenges and issues facing the “Junker” commission together with Vladimir Shopov, political scientist and Vihar Georgiev, a professor at the Department of European studies of Sofia University. Elisar Bashir, coordinator of the European program at MOVE.BG, moderated the discussion. The event was organized and jointly participated by the European Studies Club from the Sofia University.
One of the main points raised in the discussion was that the new Commission will be much more “politicized” than the previous one. Some of the cited arguments supporting this shared opinion were the selection, appointment and determination of the spitzenkandidat, the fact that there is much higher political sensitivity and many more political figures, as well as the fact that Juncker has the thinking of a politician combined with his almost classic hierarchy of the tasks. All the participants agreed that the presence of many anti-European parties has led to, in general, fewer votes for the new Commission and that a significant confrontation is expected between European and national politics as a consequence.
The question was raised concerning the ‘leadership crisis’ at the European level and whether the new composition of the European Commission will step objectively to overcome it. Vihar Georgiev was convinced that Juncker hasvisionary leadership, and able to contribute to further collaboration, but he lacks political entrepreneurship. Vladimir Shopov warned that they should not overdo it with over-regulation / megalomania towards the changes and reforms needed, adding that Europe is in a delicate situation arising from the growing level of mistrust in the European project.
The guests agreed that the pace of the new ‘Juncker’ Commission is resourceful, approving of Juncker’s fruitful attempt to institutionalize actions in order to easily organize and coordinate measures, that are a crossroads of several policies and thereby maximizing the impact on the economy.
Thanks to active guest participation we addressed many different issues such as the hierarchical structure of the EC, the presence of many former ministers and political figures, the growing criticism of the EU, the need for an entirely new communications policy and a change in how they visualize and communicate policies, the similarities and differences between Borroso an Juncker, the TTIP, and the possible exit of the UK from the EU.
In conclusion, Vihar Georgiev admitted that for him one of the most important tasks of the new Commission is to prepare the people for the forthcoming digital transformation. Vladimir Shopov expressed hope that the new Commission will be more focused, have better leadership and a more accurate idea how to achieve its priorities and present its decisions to its citizens.