Reacting to the official announcement of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s new cabinet yesterday, BEUC director general Monique Goyens said that the focus on better regulation had been “explicit”.
The new lineup saw several changes to the structure including Czech politician, businesswoman, and lawyer Vĕra Jourová taking on justice, consumers and gender equality. Meanwhile Dutch politician Frans Timmermans will hold the newly created better regulation, inter-institutional relations, the rule of law and the charter of fundamental rights portfolio. Lithuanian Vytenis Andriukaitis will be the next commissioner for health and food safety (DG Sanco).
Goyens said it was “evident that laws need to be efficient”, but added: “Let’s be clear, a one-sided reduction of regulatory burdens on business does not equate to better law-making and should never be at the expense of consumers, the environment or workers.
“To shy away from taking necessary actions can be a very costly exercise for our societies in the long-term."
Industry association FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) called the creation of a position dedicated to better regulation an, “essential and positive step”.
Making a ‘scattered structure’ work
On the appointment of Jourová, Goyens said: “We are encouraged that consumer affairs have been prominently placed within the new Commission. Our preference would always be for a dedicated consumer chief, but bundling consumer policy and justice issues can be made to succeed.”
She said it was important that the commissioner became a kind of consumer “watchdog” within this “scattered structure”.
She added that consumers could be drivers of growth “if they have trust in the market”.
“In times of economic recovery, the very same who drive the market should be at the forefront of the new commission’s preoccupation.”
Juncker also placed ex-Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen as commissioner for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness. The FDE said this “joined-up approach” for key food sector issues was "particularly welcome".
“As is the promotion of project teams that will bring a useful horizontal approach to policy-making and help ensure coordinated action at the highest level.”
Juncker's selection must now be approved by the European Parliament, considered a formality.