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Commissioner-designate for Research, Science and Innovation awaits European Parliament hearing

Carlos Moedas from Portugal has been named as the new EU Commissioner-designate for Research, Science and Innovation.

Last week, Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled his proposed team and the new shape of the next European Commission. It included Carlos Moedas from Portugal, along with the 26 other new proposed Commissioners and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy. The entire college will now have to gain European Parliament approval in October before taking up their new posts in Brussels. The public ‘mission letter’ sent to Moedas by President-elect Juncker emphasised that the new Commissioner should aim to improve research infrastructure and make better use of research results. In the letter, Juncker called on the new Commissioner to ‘mobilise innovative financial instruments available under Horizon 2020, facilitating investment in education, research and innovation infrastructure.’ Juncker also tasked Moedas with ‘focusing more on applied research, with a greater participation of the private sector and a special focus on SMEs, in particular in Horizon 2020’. For the coming five years, Commissioner Moedas will also aim to ‘maximise the synergies between projects funded under Horizon 2020’ and help to realise Commission priorities for the Digital Single Market and the European Energy Union through projects on energy efficiency, low-carbon technologies and digital technologies. Although the Commissioner-designate's most recent professional experiences have not been in the field of research, he does hold a degree in civil engineering and worked briefly as an engineer. He has since risen through the ranks of top financial institutions and most recently held the position of Portuguese Secretary of State to the Prime Minister. Media reports claim that the ‘bright spot’ on Moedas’ CV is his involvement in helping Portugal exit its EUR 78 billion bailout programme in May 2014. Few major fundamental changes to the Research, Science and Innovation portfolio have been indicated by President-elect Juncker. The services that the new Commissioner will be responsible for include: the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (RTD) as well as the relevant parts of the European Research Council executive agency (ERCEA), the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME); the Innovation and Networks executive agency (INEA) and the Research Executive Agency (REA). Significant additions and changes have been made, however, to other Commissioner portfolios. President-elect Juncker has established a new Commissioner portfolio dedicated to a Better Regulation agenda under Frans Timmermans, as well as a new Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME portfolio under Elžbieta Bieńkowska and a new Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs portfolio under Pierre Moscovici. There will also be a new Commissioner specifically for Migration — Dimitris Avramopoulos. A number of existing portfolios have also been reshaped and streamlined: the Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries portfolios have been combined under Karmenu Vella, as have those of Climate Action and Energy policy under Miguel Arias Cañete. Another big change for the new Commission is that there are now six Vice-Presidents, each leading a project team. According to the Commission: ‘[The Vice-Presidents] will be steering and coordinating the work of a number of Commissioners in compositions that may change according to need and as new projects develop over time.’ The next step for Moedas and his fellow Commissioner-designates is for the European Parliament to give its consent to the entire College of Commissioners following their individual hearings. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the European Council formally appoints the European Commission and the team begins its five-year term. For more information, please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/about/juncker-commission/docs/moedas_en.pdf

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