Minister hails approval of EU commission

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 27-11-2019 19:44:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s foreign minister on Wednesday welcomed the approval by the European Parliament of the new European Commission, stressing the importance of safeguarding continuity in the work of European Union institutions.

"The reaction is [one] of rejoicing because this allows a new European Commission to start functioning from Monday and it is very important that the continuity of the work of the European bodies is safeguarded," Augusto Santos Silva said.

The foreign minister was speaking in Lisbon at a joint news conference with the minister of foreign affairs, cooperation and communities of Sao Tome and Principe, Elsa Pinto.

"The president of the Commission and the entire team of commissioners know that they always have Portugal's committed and active participation in favour of European construction,” Santos Silva said. “The prime minister, António Costa, had a work dinner on Monday with [Commission] President Ursula Von der Leyen and we all know how the agenda of the new Commission and the agenda of Portugal converge."

The European Parliament on Wednesday, at a meeting in Strasbourg, confirmed the new team of commissioners headed by Ursula Von der Leyen, who are thus to take up their jobs next Sunday, 1 December.

The new EU executive, in which Portugal's nominee, Elisa Ferreira, is to be responsible for the cohesion and reform portfolio, was approved by deputies with 461 votes in favour, 157 against and 89 abstentions, in a total of 707 votes cast.

The Von der Leyen Commission, which succeeds that led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is thus to begin a five-year term one month after the date originally planned. The delay was due to the rejection of three proposed commissioners (from France, Hungary and Romania) by the European Parliament, in the wake of hearings at which the nominees were questioned.

This is the first European Commission team led by a woman, with Von der Leyen falling just short of ensuring the gender parity she wanted, with 12 women and 15 men.

For now, the commission consists of just 26 members, besides Von der Leyen, since the UK, though still am EU member, has declined to nominate a commissioner in the runup to a general election there on 12 December.

Among the Portuguese parties represented in the European Assembly, the governing Socialist Party and the opposition Social Democrats and People’s Party (CDS-PP) voted in favour of the new commission team. The Left Bloc and Communist Party voted against and People-Animals-Nature (PAN) abstained.


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