European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso unveiled the EU executive's new line-up on Friday, handing Finn Olli Rehn a key role overseeing monetary affairs as part of efforts to revive the European Union economy.
Rehn takes over from Spaniard Joaquin Almunia, who will become competition commissioner in the 27-country bloc's executive. France's Michel Barnier was named internal market commissioner with responsibility for financial services.
The formation of the European Commission is the latest stage in the EU's efforts to maintain influence on the world stage after the economic crisis.
The 27-person team, which represents almost 500 million people, is likely to take office early next year, and will serve for five years but needs the European Parliament's approval.
In five years' time, I want this Commission to have been instrumental in leading Europe out of the economic crisis towards a competitive economy that provides sustainable growth, Barroso told a news conference.
The nomination of the Commission, a powerful regulatory body, follows the naming of a president and a new foreign policy chief and ratification of a treaty intended to make EU decision-making smoother.
Almunia, a 61-year-old Socialist, has won a reputation for independence and fiscal prudence as economic and monetary affairs commissioner. Rehn, 47, has overseen the accession of Romania and Bulgaria as EU enlargement commissioner.
Both men are (among) Commission President Barroso's top lieutenants and they are seen as safe pairs of hands, an EU diplomat said.
In making these appointments, Barroso keeps tight control on two top jobs and keeps Paris, Berlin and London's hands off them.
Europe's economy has started to recover after the global crisis. The EU faces a decision on when to stop emergency financial measures that were used to prop up the economy, and needs to tackle soaring budget deficits.
As competition commissioner, taking over from Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands, Almunia will be asked to enforce strict rules on state aid, prevent protectionism and uphold the EU's single market.
Other appointments included:
- Catherine Ashton: Foreign Affairs High Representative
- Dacian Ciolos (Romania): Agriculture
- John Dalli (Malta): Health and Consumer Policy
- Karel De Gucht (Belgium): Trade
- Stefan Fuele (Czech Republic): Enlargement
- Connie Hedegaard (Denmark): Climate Action
- Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (Ireland): Research and Innovation
- Janusz Lewandowski (Poland): Budget/Financial Programming
- Guenther Oettinger (Germany): Energy
- Janez Potocnik (Slovenia): Environment
- Neelie Kroes (Netherlands): Digital Agenda.