On Sept 10 EU Commission president Juncker presented his candidates and a new structure for the heads of the European Commission.
Dutch Frans Timmermans is designated first vice-president of the Commission and would be responsible for fundamental rights. He has been previously a strong defender of human rights, particularly also for LGBT persons.
Vĕra Jourová from the Czech Republic is designated as responsible for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. It is for the first time that a commissioner’s title bears gender equality, which trans-people fall under. How Vĕra Jourová, previously a minister for regional development, views trans human rights is not well known. She has been tasked by Jean-Claude Juncker to take up negotiations with member states again to move forward the stuck horizontal non-discrimination directive, which would improve and equalize protections on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or
belief. (Read here why the horizontal directive is needed.) Together with ILGA-Europe TGEU has been calling for a comprehensive EU roadmap that would lay out how the EU Commission plans to address discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Vytenis Andriukaitis is a health practitioner and was Lithuanian Minister of Health. He is set as heading the Directorate General for Consumer Protection and Public Health (DG SANCO). Mr Andriukaitis previously spoke out for reproductive rights and is appraised as rather liberal. However, it was under his leadership that the Lithuanian Ministry of Health refused to recognize the need to introduce a health care protocol for trans-specific health care. After a critical hearing at the European Parliament, current EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg, committed to work towards trans depathologization in the ICD-revision process. A promise he kept and TGEU would like to see Mr. Andriukaitis to prolong.
The European Parliament still has to approve the candidates. For this they will meet them in hearings, scheduled for the end of September/ beginning of October. Traditionally, parliamentarians have taken this as an opportunity to pinpoint controversial points in candidates’ past and obtain concrete political commitments. The European Parliament cannot vote on individual candidates but give or decline its support to on the entire proposed team.