Vestager will stay in Brussels, even without EU Commission presidency

Danish EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will stay in Brussels for a second term, the Scandinavian nation’s new prime minister announced yesterday (26 June), even if she fails in her bid to become the next president of the European Commission.

Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s newly-elected prime minister, said on Wednesday her compatriot had done a good job in Brussels and will be nominated for a second stint at the Commission.

Although still in the running to become the next president of the EU executive, Vestager’s position in Brussels was previously far from guaranteed given that she hails from a different political family to Frederiksen’s ruling Social Democrats.

The accepted logic until now was that no one in Copenhagen would stand in Vestager’s way if she were to be offered the Commission presidency. A simple renewal of her mandate was seen as less likely though.

But the uncertainty was dispelled by Frederiksen, who told Danish TV that Vestager had “done a really important job for the EU and therefore for Denmark”.

She “is allowed to continue as Danish Commissioner,” the new PM said.

When asked if she was tempted to name someone from the Social Democrats for the role, Frederiksen replied: “when it comes to international posts, then of course you have to look at if we already have a skilled Commissioner who has the chance to continue”.

“I can fully and completely defend as a Social Democratic prime minister that she is allowed to continue her work,” Frederiksen confirmed.

EU sources told EURACTIV that Vestager is likely to stick with the competition portfolio if she is nominated for a second Commission mandate, although industry or some form of vice-presidency could also be on the table.

Although Commissioner-elects require a green light from the European Parliament, the Dane’s widely acclaimed work over the last five years means she would almost certainly get the blessing of the EU assembly.

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