Finnegan's Take

MGQ’s influence within the Commission is growing

EU Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is expanding her influence in the College of Commissioners by convening two subgroups: on innovation and research.
She will chair both, elevating herself to something of a senior commissioner.

The innovation subgroup is an official effort by Barroso to pull together various strands of EU policy which touch on innovation: research, business, education, energy and so on. It means others will get to influence the Resarch & Innovation plan (due to be published in September) but also allows MGQ to reach into relevant areas such as the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (which reports to the education commissioner).

The Innovation Commissioner continues to carve out her own little fiefdom within the Commission by announcing plans to chair an informal grouping of commissioners interested in research.
This group could, she says, just meet occasionally for breakfast, but would allow those in charge of transport and environment direct input into DG Research.

The dynamics within these subgroups will be interesting to observe. Geoghegan-Quinn says Regional Commissioner Johannes Hahn (a former Austrian research minister) is a key ally in the College, while she is also working closely with Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani on innovation policy.
[She borrowed some of his langauge in the Parliament last week when talking about turning research into marketable products]

She may not be a Commission Vice-President but MGQ is positioning herself to become one of the most influential members of Barroso’s team.

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  1. She’s also among the most visible Commissioners in Brussels, popping up all over the place making presentations and talking about things… Much more active than many of them!

  2. Agreed. It has been an impressive start – let’s hope she delivers or all the gung-ho gusto will look a bit embarrassing three or four years from now.

    I wonder whether some of the Vice-Presidents on the subgroups she’ll chair will feel a pang of jealousy at her elevation to some kind of ‘Super Commissioner’ status.

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