José Manuel Barroso, President-designate of the next European Commission, has today announced the 24 other Commissioners (one from each EU Member State, following the enlargement of the EU on 1 May 2004), and their proposed responsibilities.

The next European Commission will take office on 1 Nov 2004, subject to approval of the Commission as a whole by the European Parliament.

All of the Commissioners-elect will appear in individual hearings before Parliamentary committees. These will take place during two weeks, beginning 27 Sep 2004.

The European Commission acts as a College and decides collectively on all issues. President-designate Barroso has emphasised in his announcement today that each Commissioner will be strictly equal in the process of collective decision-making, and that there will be no delegation of powers to Commissioners’ groups.

Key Commissioners-elect with direct responsibility for telecommunications (electronic communications) are:

  • Viviane Reding: Commissioner for Information Society/Media.
  • Neelie Kroes: Commissioner for Competition Policy.

In addition, José Manuel Barroso himself is put forward as the chairman of a group of Commissioners responsible for the "Lisbon Strategy" on European competitiveness (where electronic communications is a parameter), Günther Verheugen is put forward as the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, including free movement of goods and special responsibilities on security including telecoms/information security, and the vice-chairmanship of the group of Commissioners on European competitiveness, Danuta Hübner is put forward as Commissioner for Regional Policy, including the Structural Funds which may be used to subsidise telecommunications projects, Charlie McCreevy is put forward as Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and Janez Potocnik is put forward as Commissioner for Science and Research.

T-REGS Note: Neelie Kroes has a track record in telecommunications. She was Secretary of State of Transport and Waterways (1977-1981), and Minister of Transport and Waterways (1982-1989) in The Netherlands. This was historically the government department in charge of telecommunications. It was during her time in government that the Dutch PTT was privatised, and that an initial reform of telecommunications legislation was adopted. Viviane Reding is of Luxembourg nationality, and is Commissioner for media (alongside other responsibilities) in the current European Commission since 1999.