On 10 September 2014, Commission President-designate presented his new team of Commissioners and their proposed portfolios.

The new commissioner designate for health is Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, a member of the Lithuanian Parliament and former Health Minister. Dr Andriukaitis chaired the Council of Health Ministers during the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU in 2013 and was widely credited as doing a good job. His appointment has been welcomed by health campaigners looking for a champion of the concept of “health in all policies.”

Dr Andriukaitis will be responsible for health policy in the new Commission but will not be responsible for pharmaceutical policy. In a move that has been condemned by health and consumer groups, Mr Juncker has moved pharmaceuticals out of health into the Enterprise Directorate. This means that DG Enterprise will be responsible for promoting EU economic growth through development of the pharmaceutical market in the EU and ensuring that pharmaceuticals are safe. The new Polish Commissioner-designate for Enterprise, Elzbieta Bienkowska, is also tasked with ensuring that the European Medicines Agency adequately regulates pharmaceutical products placed on the EU market. Glenis Willmott, the MEP who steered the 2014 Medical Products Regulation through the Parliament, has called on Mr Juncker to reverse his decision:

“When I was negotiating the transparency laws for clinical trial results, it was DG Enterprise that wanted to water the rules down. Now they will be overseeing the European Medicines Agency as it implements the transparency regime, which is frankly concerning.”

“This was a bad decision from President Juncker, I hope he will quickly come to his senses and rectify it.”

The Portuguese nominee for Commissioner, Carlos Moedas, has been given the important Research, Science and Innovation portfolio. A civil engineer by training, Mr Moedas has an MBA from Harvard and has worked at Goldman Sachs. In 2008 he founded is own investment company. As a minister in the Portuguese government he was involved in negotiating the austerity package for Portugal.

The European Parliament has the power to veto Commissioner-designates. Hearings will take place in the relevant Parliament committee the week of 29 September to 3 October and the Parliament will vote on the nominees on 21 October. The new Commission is due to start work on 1 November.

For more information please contact fiona.godfrey@easloffice.eu