The European Parliament will vote on Ursula von der Leyen’s top team next Wednesday, paving the way for the new Commission to start work on December 1, Parliament President David Sassoli said.
He said the vote at a plenary session in Strasbourg will come after the Council backs a College of Commissioners with 27 members, as the U.K. has refused to make a nomination before its December 12 election.
“Today, we have decided that we will have a vote on the college,” Sassoli said after a meeting of the assembly’s Conference of Presidents (the leaders of the political groups). “If the vote is positive, on December 1st the European Commission will be able to start its own work.”
Sassoli said the Council will make a statement “on the formation of the 27 commissioners,” regardless of what happens on Friday, which is when the U.K. has been asked to respond to an infringement procedure launched over London’s refusal to nominate a candidate for commissioner.
“Unless there are new facts,” Sassoli said, “there will be a declaration from the Council on the formation of the 27 commissioners … This for us is sufficient given the dialogue and the answers that have been given to us by the British authorities.”
The confirmation process, which started in September, was tougher than von der Leyen would have hoped, with MEPs rejecting the nominees from France, Romania and Hungary. Their replacements have now all been given parliamentary approval.
But Sassoli defended MEPs’ decisions, saying the assembly took the confirmation process “very seriously” and is “really at the center of the European decision-making process.”
Sassoli and the group leaders on Thursday also met with the three designated Commission executive vice presidents, Margrethe Vestager, Frans Timmermans and Valdis Dombrovskis.