Accounting professional bodies have welcomed Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposals for the composition of the next European Commission (EC).
“A new Commission means a new opportunity to improve efficiency and increase transparency,” Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) chief executive Michael Izza commented.
“We had called for greater focus on key priority areas, creating clusters of commissioners. Today’s announcement suggests a move in that direction.”
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) head of public affairs for Europe Petros Fassoulas said that the new EC has the right structure and credentials to deliver meaningful solutions for the challenges faced by the European Union (EU).
“We look forward to a smooth parliamentary hearing process and to working with the new Commissioners to help support European businesses to compete more effectively in a global context,” he added.
The portfolios of the new commissioners are subject to some novelties that include creation and restructuring. ACCA particularly welcomed the creation of a new internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SME portfolio that will be lead by Polish commissioner Elžbieta Bienkowska.
“ACCA champions the needs of SMEs especially their access to finance and to the digital agenda, as well as their internationalisation,” Fassoulas said.
“For the first time a portfolio includes a specific mention of the backbone of all European economies – SMEs- in the title,” he added.
The profession was enthusiastic about British Lord Jonathan Hill’s appointment as commissioner of the newly created Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union portfolio.
“The appointment of Jonathan Hill demonstrates how our EU partners recognise the importance of the City for Britain and the EU,” ACCA’s Fassoulas said.
UK Financial Reporting Council chief executive officer Stephen Haddrill commented: “It is fantastic to see that the UK Commissioner Lord Hill has been assigned the newly created portfolio.”
However, Haddrill also urged the EC not to lose its focus on economic growth, referring to one of the restructuring measures that moved the Cooperate Governance and Social Responsibilities Unit from Internal Market and Services to the Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality department.
With regards to gender equality, the EU rules state that the EC commission should have at least 33% of female commissioners, a requirement Junker just about fulfilled by appointing nine female commissioners out of the 27 positions.
“We are pleased to see that among the nine women who will take office in November, three are EC vice-presidents, who obtained three of the seven powerful new key portfolios – covering competition, internal market, industry, labour and trade,” Fassoulas commented.