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Margrethe Vestager: five more years as Competition Commissioner, with a focus on “Digital Age”

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Reynolds Michael
Michael Reynolds

Of Counsel

Brussels

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Bavasso Antonio
Antonio Bavasso

Partner Co-Head Antitrust

London

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Schindler Juergen
Jürgen Schindler

Partner Co-Head Antitrust

Brussels

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11 September 2019

Normally the European Commission’s Competition portfolio alternates between a Commissioner from a large Member State and a small Member State. Thus it had been widely assumed that the Competition portfolio in the new Commission would go to Sylvie Goulard from France or Paolo Gentiloni from Italy, since the Presidency was occupied by a German (President-elect Ursula von der Leyen) and Spain’s Josep Borrell had secured the external relations position.

The decision to reappoint Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager as Competition Commissioner breaks this precedent. It is also the first time that the Competition Commissioner has been reappointed for a second mandate. However, Mrs Vestager has also been appointed as one of three Executive Vice-Presidents, with a brief to co-ordinate the Commission’s whole digital agenda. In fact the title more prominently used in the customary mission letter is “Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age.”

This will avoid what might have otherwise been a turf war between a separate Competition Commissioner and a Commissioner for the Digital Economy.

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