Magazine article Europe-East

European Commission: Barroso Reshuffles Top Officials in Bid to Put His Stamp on Eu Executive

Magazine article Europe-East

European Commission: Barroso Reshuffles Top Officials in Bid to Put His Stamp on Eu Executive

Article excerpt

The final elements of the reshuffle were only decided late on the evening of November 8 with one of the last decisions to fall into place being the switch of Environment Director-General Catherine Day (Ireland) to be Commission Secretary-General, replacing the current occupant, compatriot David O'Sullivan, who moves to become Director-General for Trade. While the Secretary-General position is seen as the most important official-level post in the Commission, analysts said that the move should not be seen as a demotion for Mr O'Sullivan who would have had to move within the next two years. This way he can build up his trade expertise before a possible move to become the Commission's ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva. The current incumbent former Secretary-General Carlo Trojan will have to move over the next eighteen months. While the decision to send Mr O'Sullivan to trade could be seen as a disappointment for Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who would have preferred Catherine Day, he at least got his wish to move current DG Peter Carl (Denmark) whom he blamed for the crisis over Chinese textile imports earlier this year. Mr Carl moves to replace Ms Day at the Environment DG, apparently after Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen convinced Mr Barroso not to force him to take retirement.

One of the most important elements of the reshuffle involved senior French officials with its nationals winning the Agriculture and Culture Directorates-General. Francois Lamoureux, the feared and respected DG for Transport and Energy, will not take early retirement as expected but will stay on a special advisor to President Barroso. France achieved its key aim of winning back the Agriculture DG with the appointment of Jean-Claude Demarty, currently a deputy Director-General in charge of budgetary affairs at DG Agri and a former member of Commission President Jacques Delors' team of advisors. Odile Quintin, currently DG for Employment and Social Affairs, moves to education and culture although she is expected to retire within the next few years. …

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