11. 09. 2019 14:36
Slovak European Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič will be Vice-president for Inter-institutional Relations in the future European Commission in the 2019-2024 period, President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced in an official statement on Tuesday. Šefčovič will be one of five vice-presidents in the EU's executive. He thus retains his vice-presidency in the EC, having most recently held the title of Vice President for the Energy Union. Šefčovič has experience with inter-institutional relations from his time in the Commission led by Jose Manuel Barroso (2009-2014). The position is one of high visibility, as it involves maintaining contacts and settling disputes with the European Parliament and the EU Council.
The reaction to the appointment at home in Slovakia was mixed, with coalition party leaders expressing approval and opposition members voicing criticism. Prime minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) said he is pleased that Slovakia has won a post in the European Commission vice-presidency for the third time running, and expressed confidence that Šefčovič will approach the job responsibly, including in connection with the need for EU reforms. Most-Hid leader Béla Bugár said he is confident that Šefčovič will do a good job, as the position is not new for him and he possesses the necessary experience. President Zuzana Čaputová also issued a statement congratulating Šefčovič, saying he has many years of experience and all the prerequisites needed to handle the post well.
MP Martin Klus, however, speaking for the opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), said that they view the appointment as a failure on part of the Government headed by Peter Pellegrini, as Šefčovič will now be returning to a more inconsequential post, and to one he has already held in the past. He also claimed that it would be more prudent and pragmatic for Pellegrini to have addressed this issue in concert with the opposition, as the given nomination is for a term of five years, whereas it's highly likely that the balance of power in Slovakia will change in a few months with the upcoming elections. Jaroslad Naď of the opposition party OLaNO stated that Šefčovič's appointment to a less important post is an "appropriate reward" for the about-face he displayed regarding his values while campaigning for the Slovak presidential election earlier this year.