New European Commissioner and a new portfolio: “Innovation and youth”
Mariya Gabriel, who served as the Commissioner for ‘Digital Single Market’ in the Juncker Commission, was nominated on 10 September as European Commissioner for ‘Innovation and Youth’, in the von der Leyen Commission. This new portfolio would cover research, education, innovation, youth culture and sports. Education and research will therefore be joined under the responsibility of a single Commissioner, who would rely on the support of DG EAC and DG RTD, which would continue as distinct entities, according to the mission letter from von der Leyen to the Commissioner-designate.
Von Der Leyen explicitly supported the increase of Horizon Europe funding and the tripling of the budget of the future Erasmus programme, as proposed by the European Parliament, further aligning thus the positions of the two institutions. Next to the flagship programmes Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, von der Leyen expectedly supported already ongoing policy priorities: European Education Area, European Research Area, European Universities Initiative and Digital Education Action Plan.
As for the next steps, the European Parliament must give its consent to the entire College of Commissioners, including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. This is preceded by hearings of the Commissioners-designate in the relevant Parliamentary committees, in line with Parliament's Rules of Procedure. Members of the European Parliament will question Gabriel at a public hearing to be held between 30 September and 8 October. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the European Council formally appoints the European Commission, in line with Article 17(7) TEU.
The Mission Letter includes:
- Ensure swift agreement on and full implementation of the future Horizon Europe programme
- Ensure sufficient investment flows to disruptive research and breakthrough innovations, notably through the European Innovation Council
- Build a true European Research Area
- Ensure that research, policy and economic priorities go hand in hand, by working with Commissioners across the entire range of EU policies, contributing to the new industrial strategy and making the most of the new thematic missions within the future Horizon Europe programme
- Promote creative industries as a catalyst for innovation, jobs and growth