With last ditch Greece talks and the Brexit pitch, there has hardly been a better week in Brussels to bury bad news. So interesting that “Team Juncker” chose Wednesday to announce the long-awaited reshuffle of heads of the Commission’s services.
Much has been made of the appointment of former Barroso chief of staff Johannes Laitenberger as the Commission’s new Secretary General and former DG FISMA head Jonathan Faull’s unenviable new role negotiating reform proposals with UK officials. However, other appointments may have a more profound effect on EU policy. Two in particular catch the eye.
Brussels veterans will not have missed the promotion of Olivier Guersent as Faull’s replacement at the helm of DG FISMA. Guerrsent was chief of staff to Michel Barnier during his term as Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. In this role he was closely involved with several high-profile policy initiatives adopted under Barnier which the Commission is currently either trying to implement or review.
No change may also be telling. Post-reshuffle, Jos Delbeke remains head of DG Climate Action – a service that is unhappily married to DG Energy under Commissioner Arias Canete. These services will have key roles in the Energy Union package including an overhaul of the ETS Directive and a new renewable energy regime. Delbeke and DG Energy head Dominique Ristori have tough work ahead aligning very different views on Energy Union priorities.