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For Denmark, three names are in play:

Connie Hedegaard, environmental minister, for the environmental commissioner. She wouldn't be too bad. She doesn't quite grasp the magnitude of our environmental problems, but she's at least not actively obstructionist.

Bertel Haarder, education minister, for the science and technology portfolio. He would be a disaster. His views of education are more or less suitable for primary education, but secondary and post-secondary education is... well, not his strong point.

Marianne Fisher-Boel, our current agricultural and rural development commissioner. The only fitting description I can conjure up of her is the timeless Douglas Adams quib "mostly harmless."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 08:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume they are all from the Governing party or have the right connections?  Is the choice largely dependent on which portfolio is on offer?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 08:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, sorry, forgot that they're not familiar names.

Haarder (V - ALDE-lunatic, governing party) has a long and illustrious history in Danish politics. Half the population hates him, the other half loves him.

Hedegaard (C - EPP, governing party) used to be retired from politics after a stint as MP, but was pulled in to greenwash Fogh II once they realised that climate change denial really wasn't such a good selling point anymore. She's as untainted a person as you're likely to find in the EPP.

Fisher Boel (V - ALDE-lunatic, governing party) is your run-of-the-mill dynastic politician, who as far as I can tell owes her career more to her farther than any particular talent or skill. As I said, "mostly harmless."

As for the selection criteria, it's probably going to be some combination of availability, desire and portfolio.

Fisher Boel will probably want to continue in federal politics - she hasn't really got anything prominent to return to in Denmark. And Venstre like having the agricultural portfolio. They're still partly a farmer/agribiz party, so it allows them to sell some favours to some of their backers. But she's 66 years old this year, and may well opt to retire instead (politicians can still afford to retire by age 65 - apparently there's no demographic crisis in their pay grade...).

I have a hard time seeing Hedegaard whisk off to the EU just before COP15, which she's been putting a lot of work into organising (and a lot of work into preventing her fellow party members from sabotaging). And she's the only one in the Danish government who has any serious interest in the environmental portfolio, so it won't be a case of wanting the portfolio and letting someone else pick the (wo)man. If she's appointed, my take is that it is to get her out of the way while the last vestige of ambition for COP15 is dismantled.

Haarder is a possibility. If he believes that Løkke is going to lose the next election (which seems probable), then he can take the science and technology portfolio as a retirement office (he's 65 this year). Or he could take his chances with the election and retire if they lose. There's moderate interest in the subject in the government, so if they can't get the agriculture portfolio, they may go for this one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 02:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like only Hedegaard isn't viewing the Commission as a pre-retirement sinecure and she could probably have more influence on climate change at EU rather than Danish level.  There was talk of Ireland going for the Agriculture portfolio but that has died down, so maybe they expect Fisher Boel to stay on.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 02:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Boel views it as a sinecure. I just don't have any particular confidence in her competence, and even less in the kind of policies her backers want her to push.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 03:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking news says it'll be Hedegaard.

Barosso and Danish PM Løkke have both signed off on it.

Hedegaards replacement as environmental minister is Lykke Friis, currently deputy headmistress of the University of Copenhagen. The university has considerable institutional prestige invested in COP15, and as such Friis has considerable personal prestige invested in it as well.

So it could have been worse. COP15 isn't quite dead, and Hedegaard is the best of the three candidates. Hands down, no contest. And Friis becomes a career politician, a role that has always suited her better than university chairmanship, in my considered opinion.

The desirability of a revolving door between the top leadership echelons of the universities is another matter, of course.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 10:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that Neelie Kroes is being renominated it looks like there will be some good appointees (and women) on the new Commission.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 11:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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