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This November has certainly been an exciting month for EU politics. Not only have the two high-visibility EU positions been filled, but also the official proposal for the new European Commission has been put forward. On 27 November, President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, revealed the allocation of portfolios for his new four-year team.
And, surprise, surprise! Neither Maro? ?efcovic (Slovak), Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth under the current Commission, nor the present Slovenian Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potoènik, will keep their portfolios. They both went for ‘heavier’ positions, i.e. Vice-President of the Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration and Environment Commissioner respectively. Instead, Barroso thought a Cypriot – Androulla Vassiliou - was better suited for the position of Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, while Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (Ireland) was designated as Commissioner for Research and Innovation.
However, the game is not over. The new college of Commissioners will have to undergo a series of hearings for approval in the European Parliament, scheduled for early January 2010. The approval vote for the entire Commission is to be held on 26 January. The new European Commission is expected to take office in mid-February, with a mandate valid until 31 October 2014.
While waiting for the official appointment of the Education Commissioner, together with the rest of the Commission, Barroso has already announced ambitious plans for higher education. On his reappointment, he talked of a comprehensive initiative entitled "Youth on the Move", which will probably be a sort of “Erasmus for all" programme, i.e. allow all young people to spend a part of their education in other member states.