On the 25th of April, Neven Mimica was named by Croatia as the 28th EU Commissioner of the European Commission. President Barosso expressed his agreement; that he was “happy” about the designation of “an experienced and committed European able to make an important contribution to the work of the European Commission”. This expected nomination coincides with the accession of Croatia to the EU on the 1st of July. Who is this man who will serve as Commissioner for Consumer Protection? Let’s learn more about him.
Trying to sum up the impressive CV of Neven Mimica is not an easy task. After studying economics in the Croatian capital, he began a diplomatic career in Cairo and Ankara. Without any doubt, he is an accomplished politician who has held various governmental positions. As the more recent, he has been Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration since 2001. In 2000, Mimica had his first EU related position as the Chief negotiator for the Stabilization and Association Agreement, as well as the WTO accession. In 2004, he was elected to the Croatian national parliament, as a member of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, where he has chaired the European Integration Committee. The choice made by the Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Milanović – who has long made clear that Mimica was the favorite for the job – is no accident. The man seems to be a convinced advocate of the EU, with a sincere interest in European affairs.
From a technical perspective, following the procedure foreseen in the Accession Treaty, Mimica will need to attend a hearing before the European Parliament, which will, most likely, endorse him by a vote in plenary, in June. Then, he will receive the Council’s agreement and will be appointed commissioner before the 1st of July. As for his portfolio, the Health and Consumer Protection portfolio held by the Maltese Tonio Borg will be split, as it has already been done in the past, to give Mimica the portfolio of Consumer Protection. Mr. Mimica will be in office for about one year, until the next EP elections in May 2014 and the designation of a new Commission that summer, giving the new commissioner a short period of time to undertake major initiatives.
It is difficult to find out more about the 59 year-old man. Aside from brilliant diplomatic and political career, it is known that he is married, has two children, and is polyglot, mastering all of the three EU’s working languages. The common source used by the public, Wikipedia, does not say more, neither does his public Facebook page nor his nonexistent twitter account. Let’s wish Mr. Mimica success as the 28th commissioner and encourage him to improve his social media presence!
As for the burning question you may ask: can the Commission continue creating portfolios? The answer seems to be a “yes”. Indeed, the European Council on the 22nd of May decided to maintain the status quo, one commissioner per state until 2019, or until the number of commissioners reaches 30 (1). A deal was made with Ireland during the European Council of June 2009, in order to convince the Irish people to give a positive answer to the second referendum on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The initial provision of the Treaty was a rather unpopular measure and was pointed out as one reason for the Irish “no”. Therefore, a new solution was found, with the option to keep one commissioner per state. The Treaty states that from 1st November 2014, the Commission should be made up of a number of members corresponding to two-thirds of the number of Member States, unless the Council decides unanimously to keep one Commissioner per Member State (2). And the Council did just that. In the perspective of further enlargements, the Commission will have to find a magic trick in order to keep creating portfolios…
(2) Article 17 (5) of the Treaty on European Union