The politicization of the EU and the appointment of the European Commissioners: anything new?

Dr. Sabrina Cavatorto

The paper intends to investigate whether and to what extent the politicization of the European Union in the domestic arenas, that is the increased controversiality of EU-related issues within the public debate, has impacted the EU commissioners’ appointment by the member state governments and therefore the election of the College by the European Parliament.

Although in a diachronic perspective, the paper is empirically focused on the formation process of the new European Commission 2019-2024. We collect data about the personal profile of commissioners-designate, their relations with governing parties and partisan affiliations, their policy competences.

If the Juncker Commission was defined as the most politicised in the institution’s history, because of the record levels of its members’ political profile, has anything changed with the most anti-European legislature ever started?

On the one hand, we ask to what extent populist Eurosceptic political actors made a difference influencing the process of appointment, both at home and within the supranational arena. On the other hand, as for the European Parliament debate during the ex ante scrutiny of the commissioners-designate, we want to describe which conceptions emerged about the Commissioners’ role within the EU policy making.

The extent to which the future Commission will then respond to its environment, proving to be sensitive to the politicization of the EU, is matter for a wider research agenda to which this paper intends to contribute.