No change in the gender split and none of the most populous six countries gets a vice presidency: Who's who in Juncker's commission

Billy Ehrenberg
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European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker (Source: Getty)

Back in 2012, the European Commission decided it would tackle gender inequality and "break the glass ceiling that continues to bar female talent from top positions in Europe’s biggest companies."

The target it set was 40 per cent, despite the fact that at the time the gender split was 19-9 in its own executive - roughly a 68 per cent to 32 per cent split.

Now Jean-Claude Juncker has named his own (provisional) team to head the commission and the split is unchanged; 19 men and 9 women.

Of the six vice presidents (and president Juncker himself) five are men and two are women, a lower percentage than the commission as a whole.

The commission is made up of 28 members - with one commissioner coming from each EU country. Commissioners have different portfolios, just like the cabinet in each country. Members must be impartial, and are not supposed to push the interests of their own nation.

Here is a table of the new team (which must still be approved by the European Parliament before it can take office on 1 November).


Anyone seeing the appointment of Pierre Moscovici as overseer of economics and financial affairs could be forgiven for thinking the centre-left was about to step to the fore in the fiscal debate.

This is unlikely to be the case however: Moscovici will have answer to a pillar of budgetary rectitude in Finland's Jyrki Katainen, the vice president for growth investment and competitiveness.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mujtaba Rahman, head of European analysis at the Eurasia Group risk consultancy, said that Moscovici would be "the ham in a very German-tasting sandwich."

Vice presidency angst

What seems to have annoyed some countries is the fact that none of the seven vice presidential posts is manned by someone from one of the EU's biggest economies or most populated countries.

In fact, the seven posts are occupied by men and women from countries that between them account for seven per cent of the EU28's population:

This isn't likely to be that much of an issue, with the commissioners not pursuing national agendas (that isn't to say that eyebrows wouldn't have been raised if the French had been given charge of agriculture). Despite a snub for a VP seat, France's Moscovici has the arguably more prestigious economics role that many others, including Luis de Guindos of Spain, had actively sought.

What is more it was always likely to be skewed as the most populous six countries (Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Poland) account for 70 per cent of the blocs citizens.

After Poland (7.6 per cent) the next largest is the Netherlands, with 3.3 per cent.


The median age in Juncker's cabinet is 54, with the oldest being Miguel Arias CaƱete of Spain, whose portfolio is climate action and energy. In all there are seven people over 60 and 10 under 40, of whom the youngest is the high representative for foreign policy, Italy's Federica Mogherini.

Of the 10 commissioners under 50 half are women, perhaps indicating that access to politics has become more equal. Of course the sample is far too small to draw any solid conclusions from.

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