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Von der Leyen Commission

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Von der Leyen Commission

7th Commission of the European Union
The College of Commissioners in 2021
Date formed1 December 2019
People and organisations
President of the CommissionUrsula von der Leyen (EPP, GER)
Vice-President(s) of the Commission
No. of commissioners27
Member parties
  •   EPP (11)
  •   PES (8)
  •   ALDE Party (5)
  •   Independent (1)
  •   ECR Party (1)
  •   EGP (1)
Status in legislature
Election(s)2019 European Parliament election
Legislature term(s)Ninth
Budget(s)€165.8 billion (2019)
PredecessorJuncker Commission

The von der Leyen Commission is the current European Commission, in office since 1 December 2019 and is to last until the 2024 elections. It has Ursula von der Leyen as its president and it further consists of one commissioner from each of the member states of the European Union (other than the President's state, Germany).

The commission was scheduled to take office on 1 November 2019; however, the French, Hungarian and Romanian commissioner-candidates lost their confirmation votes by the European Parliament in early October 2019,[1] so new commissioners had to be selected from those three member states by the President-elect and subsequently confirmed by the Parliament. This process took place in November 2019 and the Commission eventually took office in its entirety on 1 December 2019.[2]

Election and formation[edit]

Von der Leyen, a member of the European People's Party (EPP), was selected and proposed to the European Parliament by the European Council on 3 July 2019 following three days of negotiations between leaders of the member states. Von der Leyen faced many critics, especially among MEPs, since the European Council ignored the so-called spitzenkandidat system when choosing her for the position.

On 16 July 2019, the European Parliament took a vote on the proposal by the European Council and elected Von der Leyen with 383 votes (374 votes needed). Before the vote, Von der Leyen had received the support of three largest political groups in the Parliament (EPP, S&D and RE); during the debate the conservative Polish party Law and Justice with 24 MEPs and the Italian Five Stars Movement (M5S) with 14 MEPs declared their support. Based on the result of the vote, nearly 100 MEPs of the unofficial grand coalition EPP-S&D-RE did not vote for Von der Leyen. Based on the debate and public announcements of the MEPs, most of the MEPs voting against von der Leyen probably came from the S&D group, including the German Social Democratic Party, which publicly opposed Von der Leyen because of her work as German Defence Minister.[3]

Following her election, President of the European Council Donald Tusk asked von der Leyen to give her consent on appointing Josep Borrell of Spain as the next EU High Representative. Consent was given on 26 July 2019, following which the European Council officially appointed Borrell as the next High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on 5 August 2019.[4][5][6]

The commission was approved by the European Parliament on 27 November 2019, receiving 461 votes, with 157 against and 89 abstentions. EPP, S&D, Renew Europe and half of the ECR voted in favour. The Greens/EFA abstained.[7]

Coalition Commission Votes cast Majority In favour Against Abstain Source
EPP Von der Leyen Commission 707 374 461 157 89 [8]

College of Commissioners[edit]

Even before Von der Leyen's confirmation, she pledged to renominate Frans Timmermans, the spitzenkandidat of the Party of European Socialists as the First Vice President. Margrethe Vestager, one of the leading candidates of the Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE), was said by Von der Leyen will become vice president as well, having de facto equal position to that of Timmermans. Other names have been mentioned by various news outlets as candidates. Some of the member states have already submitted the official nominations to the President-in-office of the Council of the EU.

Von der Leyen requested that member states each propose two candidates, a man and a woman, so it would be easier to form a gender-balanced commission. France's Thierry Breton was the last candidate to be designated on 24 October 2019 by Emmanuel Macron.

Von der Leyen Commission
Confirmation by the European Parliament on 27 November 2019Appointment by the European Council on 28 November 2019
Portfolio Designee Portfolio Designee Portfolio Designee
Ursula von der Leyen
of Germany Germany


First Vice President and Executive Vice President

European Green Deal
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

Maroš Šefčovič
of Slovakia Slovakia


Executive Vice President and European Commissioner


Margrethe Vestager
of Denmark Denmark


[9][10] [9][10] [9][11][12][10]
Executive Vice President and European Commissioner


Valdis Dombrovskis
of Latvia Latvia


Vice President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Josep Borrell
of Spain Spain


Vice President and European Commissioner

Promoting the European Way of Life

Margaritis Schinas
of Greece Greece


[9][13][10] [9][4][5][6][10] [9][14][10]
Vice President and European Commissioner

Values and Transparency

Věra Jourová
of Czech Republic Czech Republic


Vice President and European Commissioner

Democracy and Demography

Dubravka Šuica
of Croatia Croatia


European Commissioner

Climate Action

Wopke Hoekstra
of the Netherlands Netherlands


[15][10] [16][10] [10]
European Commissioner


Johannes Hahn
of Austria Austria


European Commissioner

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Iliana Ivanova
of Bulgaria Bulgaria


European Commissioner

Jobs and Social Rights

Nicolas Schmit
of Luxembourg Luxembourg


[17][18][10] [9][19][10] [9][10]
European Commissioner


Paolo Gentiloni
of Italy Italy


European Commissioner


Janusz Wojciechowski
of Poland Poland


European Commissioner

Internal Market

Thierry Breton
of France France


[20][10] [21][10] [22][10]
European Commissioner

Cohesion and Reforms

Elisa Ferreira
of Portugal Portugal


European Commissioner

Health and Food Safety

Stella Kyriakides
of Cyprus Cyprus


European Commissioner


Didier Reynders
of Belgium Belgium


[23][24][10] [9][25][10] [26][10]
European Commissioner


Helena Dalli
of Malta Malta


European Commissioner

Home Affairs

Ylva Johansson
of Sweden Sweden


European Commissioner

Crisis Management

Janez Lenarčič
of Slovenia Slovenia


[27][10] [28][10] [29][30][10]
European Commissioner


Adina Vălean
of Romania Romania


European Commissioner

Neighbourhood and Enlargement

Olivér Várhelyi
of Hungary Hungary


European Commissioner

International Partnerships

Jutta Urpilainen
of Finland Finland


[31][10] [9][10] [32][33][10]
European Commissioner


Kadri Simson
of Estonia Estonia


European Commissioner

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Virginijus Sinkevičius
of Lithuania Lithuania


European Commissioner

Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union

Mairead McGuinness
of Republic of Ireland Ireland


[34][35][10] [36][10] [37]


  • 26 August 2020: Following Golfgate and a controversy about his travels in Ireland in preceding weeks, which conflicted with the Irish COVID-19 guidelines, Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan resigned.[38]
  • 12 October 2020: Mairead McGuinness, Ireland's nominee to replace Phil Hogan is confirmed by the European Parliament and appointed as a European Commissioner by the Council of the European Union.[39]
  • 15 May 2023: Mariya Gabriel resigns as Commissioner after being tasked with forming the next Bulgarian government.[40]
  • 22 August 2023 Frans Timmermans resigns as Executive Vice President for the European Green deal following his selection as a candidate for Prime Minister of the Netherlands in the 2023 Dutch general election.[41]
  • 19 September 2023: Iliana Ivanova, Bulgaria's nominee to replace Mariya Gabriel is confirmed by the European Parliament and appointed as a European Commissioner by the Council of the European Union.[42]
  • 9 October 2023: Wopke Hoekstra, Netherlands's nominee to replace Frans Timmermans is confirmed by the European Parliament and appointed as a European Commissioner by the Council of the European Union.[43]

Group organization[edit]

Von der Leyen has organized the Commission into groups supervised by the designated executive vice presidents and vice presidents. The members as of 31 May 2024 are below.[44]

Group Commissioner Portfolio(s)
European Green Deal Maroš Šefčovič European Green Deal (executive vice president)
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Stella Kyriakides Health and Food Safety
Adina Vălean Transport
Kadri Simson Energy
Virginijus Sinkevičius Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
Janusz Wojciechowski Agriculture
Elisa Ferreira Cohesion and Reforms
Wopke Hoekstra Climate Action
A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager A Europe Fit for the Digital Age (executive vice president)
Thierry Breton Internal Market
Nicolas Schmit Jobs and Social Rights
Didier Reynders Justice
Iliana Ivanova Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
An Economy That Works for People Valdis Dombrovskis An Economy That Works for People (executive vice president)
Nicolas Schmit Jobs and Social Rights
Paolo Gentiloni Economy
Elisa Ferreira Cohesion and Reforms
Mairead McGuinness Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union
Promoting Our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas Promoting Our European Way of Life (vice president)
Helena Dalli Equality
Ylva Johansson Home Affairs
Stella Kyriakides Health and Food Safety
Nicolas Schmit Jobs and Social Rights
Iliana Ivanova Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
A Stronger Europe in the World Josep Borrell A Stronger Europe in the World (vice president)
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Olivér Várhelyi Neighbourhood and Enlargement
Janez Lenarčič Crisis Management
Jutta Urpilainen International Partnerships
A New Push for European Democracy Věra Jourová Values and Transparency (vice president)
Didier Reynders Justice
Maroš Šefčovič European Green Deal (executive vice president)
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Dubravka Šuica Democracy and Demography (vice president)
Helena Dalli Equality

Commission departments[edit]

Result of the election of the commission, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, 27 November 2019


Name Abbr. Commissioner
Agriculture and Rural Development AGRI Janusz Wojciechowski
Budget BUDG Johannes Hahn
Climate Action CLIMA Wopke Hoekstra
Communications Networks, Content and Technology CONNECT Thierry Breton
Communication COMM Ursula von der Leyen
Competition COMP Margrethe Vestager
Defence Industry and Space DEFIS Thierry Breton
Economic and Financial Affairs ECFIN Paolo Gentiloni
Education, Youth, Sport and Culture EAC Iliana Ivanova
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion EMPL Nicolas Schmit
Energy ENER Kadri Simson
Environment ENV Virginijus Sinkevičius
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations ECHO Janez Lenarčič
Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations NEAR Olivér Várhelyi
Eurostat - European statistics EUROSTAT Paolo Gentiloni
Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union FISMA Mairead McGuinness
Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority HERA Stella Kyriakides
Health and Food Safety SANTE Stella Kyriakides
Human Resources and Security HR Johannes Hahn
Informatics DIGIT Johannes Hahn
Internal Audit Service IAS Didier Reynders
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs GROW Thierry Breton
International Partnerships INTPA Jutta Urpilainen
Interpretation SCIC Johannes Hahn
Joint Research Centre JRC Iliana Ivanova
Justice and Consumers JUST Didier Reynders
Helena Dalli
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries MARE Virginijus Sinkevičius
Migration and Home Affairs HOME Ylva Johansson
Mobility and Transport MOVE Adina Vălean
Regional and Urban Policy REGIO Elisa Ferreira
Structural Reform Support REFORM Elisa Ferreira
Research and Innovation RTD Iliana Ivanova
Taxation and Customs Union TAXUD Paolo Gentiloni
Trade TRADE Valdis Dombrovskis
Translation DGT Johannes Hahn

Executive agencies and service departments[edit]

Executive agencies[edit]

Executive agencies of the Von der Leyen Commission
Executive Agency Head
Name Abbr.
Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency EACEA Sophie Beernaerts (acting)
European Research Council Executive Agency ERCEA Laurence Moreau
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency EISMEA Jean-David Malo
Research Executive Agency REA Marc Tachelet
Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency CINEA Paloma Aba Garrote (acting)
Health and Digital Executive Agency HADEA Marina Zanchi

Service departments[edit]

Service departments of the Von der Leyen Commission
Service department Head
Name Abbr.
Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements PMO
Data Protection Officer DPO
European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF
European Personnel Selection Office EPSO
European Political Strategy Centre EPSC
Foreign Policy Instruments FPI
Historical Archives Service
Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels OIB
Infrastructure and Logistics in Luxembourg OIL
Innovation and Networks Executive Agency INEA
Internal Audit Service IAS
Legal Service SJ
Library and e-Resources Centre
Publications Office OP
Secretariat-General SG
Structural Reform Support Service SRSS
Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Selection of the candidate for president[edit]

Following the example of the 2014 European Election, in advance of the 2019 elections the main European political parties named so-called spitzenkandidaten, or leading candidates, who were the parties' candidates to become the next president of the European Commission. All of the parties named at least one candidate; some named two, while the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE), which officially opposed the system of spitzenkandidaten, introduced "Team Europe," which consisted of several high-ranking European politicians. However, other parties perceived those candidates, especially Margrethe Vestager of Denmark, as leading candidates.

The leading candidates were:

Party Leading candidates
European People's Party Germany Manfred Weber
Party of European Socialists Netherlands Frans Timmermans
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Germany Nicola Beer
Italy Emma Bonino
Slovenia Violeta Bulc
Hungary Katalin Cseh
Spain Luis Garicano
Belgium Guy Verhofstadt
Denmark Margrethe Vestager
Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe Czech Republic Jan Zahradil
European Green Party Netherlands Bas Eickhout
Germany Ska Keller
Party of the European Left Slovenia Violeta Tomić
Belgium Nico Cué

After winning 2019 European election, the European People's Party claimed that the position of the President of the European Commission should be given to them and wanted their leading candidate Manfred Weber for the job. However, Weber faced strong opposition from the liberal-leaning French President Emmanuel Macron and the ALDE, and from the Party of European Socialists (PES) as well; opposition was driven by Weber's lack of experience, since he had only previously served as MEP and never held any governmental position.[45] The PES strongly supported the candidature of Frans Timmermans, who also had support from most of the ALDE members of the European Council. (Andrej Babiš, then Czech Prime Minister, is a member of the ALDE but also of the Visegrad Four, which strongly opposed Timmermans because of his support for migration quotas and inability to reach compromises.[46]) The ALDE Party wanted to see Margrethe Vestager taking the top Commission job.

The first European Council meeting was held on 20 and 21 June 2019, bringing no decision on distribution of EU top jobs. President Donald Tusk summoned leaders again for a special meeting that lasted from 30 June until 2 July 2019. Over three days of negotiations, the EPP gave up on Weber becoming the President of the commission; it seemed that Timmermans might be nominated, especially after he met with Bulgarian Prime Minister and EPP member Boyko Borisov at the Bulgarian Embassy in Belgium during the meeting of the European Council. Naming Timmermans President of the European Commission would have been a part of the so-called Osaka deal, a plan that was formed by several EU leaders (Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Giuseppe Conte, Donald Tusk, Mark Rutte, and Pedro Sánchez) during the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.

However, the opposition from Visegrad Four, now joined by Croatia and Italy, was still strong, and Timmermans could not win a Council majority. Other names mentioned during the negotiations included Michel Barnier, Kristalina Georgieva and Andrej Plenković; it became clear after the Council ended that Plenković's name had been introduced by Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr, who is Plenković's close friend. The candidature was rejected by Macron, who opposed the personal ambitions of leaders.[47]

When Ursula von der Leyen (EPP)'s name emerged as a potential candidate, it was a surprise and she faced many critics, mainly because she had not been a spitzenkandidat. The German Social Democratic Party, part of the German government coalition, opposed von der Leyen due to her work as minister of defence, which resulted in the German Chancellor Angela Merkel's abstention during the council's vote on the proposal. Nevertheless, all other European Council members voted in favor, and she was nominated as the next President of the European Commission.

Brexit vacancy[edit]

With the three month Brexit delay requested, the United Kingdom had not nominated any British commissioner. This was a unique event with no precedent in the history of the European Union. Von der Leyen had to formally request the British Government nominate an EU commissioner. She also asked the legal service if the commission could operate without a British commissioner. Some MEPs have suggested the possibility of a vote to allow the EU Commission to operate without a British commissioner.[48]

The United Kingdom left the European Union at 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020, so the position of British commissioner remained vacant until its automatic abolition when Brexit occurred.


Geopolitical Commission[edit]

Von der Leyen, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on 1 November 2021

From the outset of her mandate as President of the European Commission, von der Leyen stated her intention to have a “geopolitical commission.”[49] The French President Emmanuel Macron is the most important driving force behind the ambition of a geopolitical commission. His vision is that the EU must become a political and strategic player with one voice.[50] Critics have pointed out that by flying the geopolitical flag, Commission President von der Leyen has exposed the weaknesses of the EU as a whole in playing a decisive role at the high diplomatic table.[51]


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU passed the Next Generation EU package, worth 750 billion euros. Von der Leyen's Commission proposed the package on 27 May 2020.[52]


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