After dividing portfolios between the European commissioners, the power struggle for key positions in the European Commission is far from over. In Brussels, a behind-the-scenes competition for influential seats in the individual commissioners’ cabinets is only growing.
Czechs are also applying for positions in the commissioners’ closest teams, and the Czech Government Office is trying to help them. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also promised to support those interested.
In the current EU executive, besides three Czechs in the cabinet of Věra Jourová (ANO), two other people were able to take top political positions.
Cohesion policy expert Tomáš Nejdl worked with Romanian Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu and Jolana Mungeng, a Czech with Congolese roots, gained a top position with Swedish Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
It is not yet clear whether the Czech Republic will be able to reach such influential positions again. Czechs could also seek posts right in the team of the next EC president, Ursula von der Leyen.
It will be von der Leyen’s team where the most important decisions are to be made over the next five years.
“Of course, everyone is interested in this cabinet,” confirmed Secretary of State for European Affairs Milena Hrdinková, who coordinates the efforts of the Government Office to help the Czechs work in top EU positions. Under Hrdinková’s leadership, a non-public list of potential candidates to the cabinets of all European commissioners was created.
“The candidates must primarily present themselves, but at the same time, they know that their chances to succeed are higher if we support them. We are, therefore, in close contact with those interested,” Hrdinková explained.
According to informed sources, cabinets of those European commissioners, whose portfolios Jourová initially applied for are the most interesting for the Czech Republic. These include the internal market, the digital agenda, and international trade.
Gaining a spot will not be easy due to strong competition among all EU states for the best portfolios.