European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has announced the first major reshuffle of senior Commission officials since the start of his second mandate.
As European Voice predicted last week, the current directorate-general for justice, liberty and security is being split in two.
Stefano Manservisi is to be director-general at the head of the newly created home affairs department. An Italian national who is currently director-general for development, he was head of the private office of former Commission president Romano Prodi in 2001-04. His department will takeresponsibility for migration and other security issues that are important to Italy.
Françoise Le Bail, who was Barroso’s spokeswoman when he first became president and is now deputy director-general for industry will become director-general of the justice department. Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, realises her objective of having a woman director-general and the number of French directors-general is restored to five, having fallen by one after the retirement of Odile Quintin on 1 May.
The transfer of Jonathan Faull, who is currently the director-general for justice, freedom and security, to become director-general for the internal market had already been announced by Barroso in November. The appointment of the Briton was then intended to appease the UK government at the same moment that he announced that Michel Barnier, a Frenchman, would be the European commissioner for the internal market.
Jörgen Holmquist, the current director-general for the internal market, becomes a special adviser and will take up a post at Harvard University. David Wright, a deputy director-general for the internal market, will leave the Commission to take up a post at Oxford University.
Fokion Fotiadis, a Greek national, had to be moved from the post of director-general for fisheries and maritime affairs (DG Mare) because he is the same nationality as the commissioner, Maria Damanaki. He will take over from Manservisi at the development department.
In turn, Fotiadis is replaced at DG Mare by Lowri Evans, a British national, who has been a deputy director-general for competition since May 2006. Her move means that there are no British officials in the competition department at director level or above, following Philip Lowe’s move to become head of the energy department in February this year.
Robert-Jan Smits, a Dutchman who is deputy director-general of the Joint Research Centre, has been promoted to be director-general at the research department.
He replaces José Manuel Silva Rodríguez, who becomes a special adviser.
Manservisi and Faull were due for rotation because they have been in their current posts longer than five years. But the reshuffle announced yesterday does not move all managers due for re-assignment.
Koos Richelle has been head of the EuropeAid Co-operation Office since November 2004. Karel Kovanda has been deputy director-general for external relations since April 2005. But the posts in the family of foreign policy departments are blighted by uncertainties over the European External Action Service and the appointment of heads of delegations. The reshuffle creates vacancies at deputy director-general level in the industry and competition departments and the Joint Research Centre.
All of the changes will take effect on 1 July.