This content is reposted from Corporate Europe 

“In preparation for the complicated process of hiring 27 new EU Commissioners, Corporate Europe Observatory joined forces with organisations defending women’s rights, democracy, public health and the environment, to outline the ideal profile of Commissioner candidates.

With the selection of Ursula von der Leyen as new President of the European Commission now behind us, EU Institutions are gearing up for the complicated process of hiring 27 new EU Commissioners.

Each EU Member State nominates a candidate to the Commission, who will then need to be vetted by the European Parliament. Those that followed this process in 2014 will surely remember the many problems that can appear during this recruitment – from Commissioners with severe conflicts of interest with the industry they are meant to regulate, to sexism.

To ensure we don’t see a repetition of this situation, Corporate Europe Observatory has joined forces with organisations defending women’s rights, democracy, public health and the environment, to outline and suggest the ideal profile of EU Commissioner candidates.

We also wrote directly to the EU Heads of State ahead of the May 2019 Sibiu Summitt. EU citizens now count on their governments to deliver a list of candidates that is gender balanced, conflict of interest free and who will put public interest first.

Job ad: European Commissioners
Primary Location: Brussels, Belgium
Job Function: European Commissioner

Mission of the role

The people of Europe are looking for European Commissioners for the 2019-2024 term to take strategic leadership in putting people at the center of EU policy-making and to champion a just transition towards a sustainable economy and society for all.

Every day, people across Europe struggle with growing poverty and inequality, deteriorating access to healthcare and worrying levels of youth unemployment. Urgent problems go unsolved – the climate crisis, air pollution killing hundreds of thousands of residents, refugees and migrants fleeing war treated inhumanely, to name a few. Causes the EU once championed, such as gender equality and guaranteeing civil rights and labour rights, have stagnated.

Many people in the EU feel frustrated, and have lost trust in the capacity of the EU institutions to respond to their aspirations, fueling Euroscepticism across the continent. The rise of nationalism and xenophobia across Europe is a worrying sign and a severe threat to the EU’s fundamental values, to our health and well-being, to our future, and to the European project itself.

As European Commissioner, you will have a unique opportunity to restore trust in the EU, provide a better life for all of us, and prosperity for future generations and the planet.

Role and Responsibilities

You will serve people in the EU and beyond, by developing and implementing public interest- driven policies and positively contributing to a vision of Europe that:

  • Puts public interest first
  • Achieves the 2030 agenda for sustainable development
  • Respects the universal values of freedom, equality, democracy, the rule of law and human rights
  • Delivers a strong social pillar in Europe
  • Delivers decent, sustainable jobs for all
  • Ensures the freedom of expression, association and assembly, including free media across Europe
  • Takes urgent climate action to limit warming to 1.5°C and phases out fossil fuels quickly, showing global leadership
  • Promotes just and sustainable transition to a 100% renewable energy supply, which is clean, affordable and supports community ownership and does not lead to energy poverty
  • Promotes sustainable and healthy food systems, more environmental and nature protection, increased food sovereignty and regional farmers’ markets
  • Ensures fair taxation
  • Pursues a sustainable trade agenda that is designed to advance well-being and the public interest, instead of cost and burden reduction for companies, and that end existing VIP rights for investors
  • Supports legally binding European and international human rights obligations for its businesses that operate overseas, including push for a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights
  • Puts human rights at the centre of the response to migration
  • Contributes to a people-centred and gender-sensitive EU budget
  • Develops a needs-driven and responsible research and innovation policy
  • Ensures a high level of protection of human health and well-being in all EU policies
  • Ensures Europe cracks down on corruption both within and outside Europe and promotes greater transparency in member state and EU policy-making
  • Ensures meaningful public participation in EU policy-making processes
  • Ensures the corporate and the financial sector deliver for people and planet, not for profit

Essential Requirements

Candidates are expected prioritise the interests of people over those of economic and financial actors; by, among other things, limiting meetings with corporate lobbyists and ensuring that those meetings that take place are transparent.

Only candidates without conflicts of interest will be considered for this role. Such conflicts of interest can arise from candidates’ – or their spouses, partners or family members – financial investments or professional roles. Cases of this nature can not only impair the ability of these commissioners to act with impartiality, but they also taint the image of the EU institutions.

Additional Information

The EU is now striving to be an equal opportunities employer hence we particularly welcome applications from women; people of different ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds; migrants; people with disabilities and LGBTI+ people.

Compensation Packages and Benefits

  • A generous compensation package, according to EU standards;
  • Transitional allowance at the end of the term to prevent any conflicts of interests with regard to the candidate’s prospective employment after leaving public office.

With this compensation package, paid by taxpayers money, we only expect the candidate to defend people’s interests above all.

To find out more and apply contact your national government as they will be responsible for nominating the candidates.”

This Europe Day, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance is proud to support a pan-European campaign for a Sustainability and Wellbeing Pact, led by our member the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

An open letter (click to download PDF – full text also below), demanding that the EU prioritises wellbeing over growth, has been signed by over 200 experts across the continent and received media coverage in 16 countries today.

WEAll members and Ambassadors are amongst the signatories, including WEAll co-founder and Ambassador Professor Kate Pickett, who says: “Nothing is more important for Europe than system change to make sustainable wellbeing our number one priority – it’s time to act and make the transition we all so badly need.”

Coverage in: The Ecologist, The National

The full text of the open letter:

What Europe needs is a Sustainability and Wellbeing Pact

The echo from the streets of Europe and beyond is ‘system change, not climate change’. When climate activist Greta Thunberg met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, she told him to talk to the experts, but what should they say?

We, system change experts from academia, civil society and cities, have some answers. Last autumn, a group of 238 scientists and 90.000 citizens asked for an end to Europe’s growth dependency and at a Growth in Transition conference in Vienna we made this more concrete. We look beyond increasing GDP towards a positive plan for a post-growth economy.

Our three key leverage points on HOW to launch a transition towards a thriving society within planetary boundaries advise policy-makers at European, national, regional and municipal levels on ways to confront the still worsening triple crisis of climate change, mass extinction and inequality.

Let’s be honest. Neither the Paris Agreement nor the Aichi Biodiversity Targets nor the current tax regimes are capable of dealing with these existential threats. As a group of scientists just wrote in Science: “The current measures for protecting the climate and biosphere are deeply inadequate”.

Deep changes are not only needed, but also wanted. A recent and massive poll taken all over Europe showed that a majority of Europeans now consider that the environment should be a priority even at the expense of growth.

Broad agreement was found on three major systemic changes. These three leaps are not excluding other solutions, but they all three are urgent, possible, needed, wanted and game-changing. They do require a visionary mindset and a can-do attitude. They require a mindshift away from incremental thinking, the mindset that has brought us to this point of crisis.

1) Dethrone King GDP, crown Queen WELLBEING

People want to thrive in a living world. Policies catering to GDP growth often sacrifice people and planet alike, while policies towards well-being help us heal.

Prosperity without growth is possible. Growth by over-exploitation of resources, safety shortcuts and pollution drive both people and planet to burnouts. Examples from Bhutan to New Zealand and Barcelona show that putting social and environmental progress before GDP really works.

Demands to the European Commission:

  • Turn the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) into a Sustainability and Wellbeing Pact (SWP).
  •  Change from “Jobs, growth and investment“ to “Wellbeing, jobs and sustainability“
  •  Establish a DG for Wellbeing and Future Generations led by the first vice-president

    Demands to countries, regions and municipalities:

  • Create a wellbeing and future generations portfolio at the heart of governance

2) From TAX HAVENS for the few to REDISTRIBUTION for the many

  • Tax wealth more and labour less. Tax pollution progressively and stop subsidizing it.
  • Two post-war decades of +-90% top income tax rates in US & UK became a rate (far) under 50% now. Most EU countries followed, leaving the rich off the hook. As a result, inequality has been rising steadily and a growing feeling of (tax) injustice has spilled into social unrest and populism. The Gilets Jaunes uprising in France showed that you can’t tax pollution without a fair taxation system. Subsidies supporting pollution and resource overuse need to end immediately and pollution/carbon taxes must be used to promote welfare for the poorest.


  • Set top income tax rates above 80% for redistribution to low- & middle-income families.
  • Tax air travel for redistribution to better and low to zero-cost public transport1.
  • Launch progressive carbon and resource taxes at the source and redistribute.
  • Provide tax incentives for the use of recycled materials.


3) EFFICIENT products are good, SUFFICIENT solutions are great

Efficiency gains are important, but only the beginning of the solution

Social and cultural exclusion can undo efficiency gains. We don’t need to sell more products, we need sufficient solutions that are long-lasting. Some companies already sell the service of having light, instead of the product of a light bulb, reversing the incentive from planned obsolescence to long lasting products. Barcelona’s zero-waste strategy includes advanced separate waste collection systems with smart waste containers to identify users and reduce residual waste as well as boost biowaste catchment – going much further than awareness raising, prevention, and support for reuse.


  • Support the development of better business models like the product-service economy.
  • Implement zero waste strategies at all governance levels following the waste management

    hierarchy for operations and extended producers’ responsibility schemes.

  • Decrease the VAT on labour-intensive services such as repairing.
  • Leap from efficiency to sufficiency policies to make sustainable lifestyles the default.