Von der Leyen unveils 'geopolitical Commission'

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Von der Leyen's team is set to take office on 1 November but must first face a grilling by members of the European Parliament.

The global issues they face will include the fight against climate change, trade wars, defending worldwide institutions and defending Europe's commitment to democracy and the rule of law. That stands in sharp contrast with the United States, which is pulling out of the accord under President Donald Trump who is a climate-change sceptic.

Iran's shrink-back from the landmark nuclear deal it struck with world powers after America's exit, and more generally tensions across the Middle East as well as an assertive Turkey and a troublesome Russian Federation also present foreign policy wildcards for Brussels. "I owe him a lot", von der Leyen concluded.

Trump administration officials have accused the current team at the European Commission - the executive branch of the EU - of dragging their feet in talks on a new, limited trade agreement.

"Of course, if Brexit does happen then the Trade Commissioner would be heavily involved in any negotiations on a future trading relationship between the European Union and UK", Kelly argued.

It has been confirmed that Ireland's nominee to the European Commission, Phil Hogan, will take on the role as Commissioner for Trade in the new European Commission.

With Brexit, the European Union would also have to find a way to fill the budget gap left by the departure of the United Kingdom, a top-tier economy in the bloc.

Von der Leyen told a news conference that Timmermans would be the pointman in making Europe "the world's first climate-neutral continent".

Her team is based on recommendations from member nations.

They include former Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni and outgoing Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

In a tweet after the announcement, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said: "Phil Hogan's appointment as EU Trade Commissioner is a very positive development for Ireland".

Johannes Hahn, as a long-standing EU Commissioner, is appreciated not only in Austria by all political groups.

The role of the trade portfolio carries significant clout and is one of the EU's most sought-after positions within the Commission - the EU's policy-making body.

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