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  • Spain conquers EU-R&D

    - The Spanish candidate for the R&D-portfolio has switched places at the last minute. President Juncker moved him to the portfolio ‘Climate Action and Energy’, a strengthening of the Spanish position in his EuroCommittee. A surprise is Miguel Arias Cañete replacement at R&D and Innovation: Carlos Moedas.

    He is a young righthandman of the prime minister in Portugal and therefore the successor on Brussels of President Jose Manuel Barroso as the Portuguese member of the EC. As Barroso was a prime promotor of the innovation-policies of the EU this nomination of Moedas can be seen as a signal from Juncker of appreciation for his predecessor.

    Knowledge revival of Europe

    The early criticisms on the prospective education-commissioner Marianne Thyssen have already been proven to be lame. The Flemish powerlady will do the portfolio on education, employment and labormarket reforms. This is therefore one of the key-agenda’s for the economic and knowledge revival of Europe.

    The fisheries expert from Spain for Energy has been Agriculture Minister in successive governments in Madrid and is also a Member of the European Parliament. Arias Cañete is a very experienced PP-parlementarian from Andalusia, who served in local, regional and national parliaments. In Europe he is as well established as well, having seated in the EP for many years since 1986. He worked in particular on the committes on Fisheries and Regional Development, but also on budgettary matters. These were of course very topical subjects for his constituency around Cadiz and Jerez de la Frontera. 

    Dynasty of sherry-makers

    Indeed, he is almost ‘royalty’ in this area, as his wife is from the dynasty of sherry-makers Domecq. They also breed livestock, including animals fit for bullfighting. At present the new Commissioner represents the capital Madrid in parliament.

    As partyleader in the EP-elections last May he became famous for an uncommon attack of chivalry. He lost a tv-debate because he claimed he had to remain civil to his female opponent. If only he had been able to debate her party leader, he could have said the “outrageous things” which would be the normal style in public meetings, he complained. His opponents called this “the machismo of a sore loser.”