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General

EU competition chief Vestager gets bigger role on digital issues in new Commission

Tuesday 10 September 2019 | 16:24 CET | News

The new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has presented her proposed candidates for the Commission portfolios. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager returns in the same role, with an increased focus on the digital economy, while French commissioner Sylvie Goulard will take responsibility for the Digital Single Market, as part of her Internal Market and industrial policy role. 

Unlike previous commissions, Von der Leyen has not named a dedicated digital commissioner, instead dividing the portfolio across two commissioners. However, making Europe "fit for the digital age" remains one of the Commission's priorities, she said, and this is underlined by Vestager serving as one of three 'executive vice presidents' of the Commission. 

Vestager, the commissioner for Denmark, "will coordinate our whole agenda on a Europe fit for the digital age", alongside serving as Commissioner for Competition, Von der Leyen said. The new president said that "Europe has to catch up" in some areas of digitisation, such as B2C, even if it has a leading position in other areas such as the B2B market. "We have to make our single market fit for the digital age, we need to make the most of artificial intelligence and big data, we have to improve on cybersecurity and we have to work hard for our technological sovereignty."

Goulard, a former member of the European Parliament and the new ‘Internal Market' commissioner, will lead work on industrial policy and promote the Digital Single Market. She will also be responsible for the new Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space. The former digital commissioner, Bulgaria's Mariya Gabriel, has moved to handling the â€˜Innovation and Youth' portfolio in the new commission.

In addition, Von der Leyen said the Commission itself will work to digitise further, with all college meetings "paperless and digital". 

The appointments remain subject to hearings and confirmation in the European Parliament and approval by the European Council. 



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Categories: General
Countries: Europe
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