European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services

The Commissioner for Internal Market and Services is a member of the European Commission. The post is currently held by Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska (European People's Party).

European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services
Thierry Breton

since 1 December 2019
European Commission
StyleMadame Commissioner
Reports toPresident of the European Commission
NominatorMember states
in accordance with the President
AppointerThe Parliament
sworn in by the Council
Term lengthFive years
First holderPiero Malvestiti
Salary19,909 monthly[1][2]


The portfolio concerns the development of the 480-million-strong European single market, promoting free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Thus it is clearly a leading role but has become more complex as the single market for services has developed. A large area of work is now financial services, a politically sensitive topic for some member states (notably, the UK). The Commissioner controls the Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market.[3][4]

Elżbieta Bieńkowska (incumbent since 2014)

Bieńkowska is a former Polish regional development minister and deputy prime minister. A self-described technocrat, she was appointed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Michel Barnier (2010–2014)

Barnier's appointment was controversial for some. His nomination came after the late 2000s recession led to criticism of bankers by many. Especially in France, there was a desire to more regulate the financial services sector, which in Europe is largely based around the City of London. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's declaration that Barnier's (then French foreign minister) appointment as Internal Market Commissioner was a "victory" produced considerable worry in the UK that France would use Barnier to push French-inspired restrictive regulation upon the UK's financial centre. Although he said that "we need to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility; we need to put transparency, responsibility and ethics at the heart of the financial system", he has tried to soothe worries in the UK and has reiterated his independence from national influence.[5]

Charlie McCreevy (2004–2010)

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Charlie McCreevy's stated priorities were:[6]

  • To maximise the potential of the Internal Market to boost growth and employment.
  • To eliminate remaining barriers to an effectively functioning internal market for services across member states.
  • To deepen the integration of Europe's capital markets and improve its financial infrastructure so that the cost of capital is reduced, the inefficiencies of fragmentation are minimised and competition is intensified, to the overall benefit of Europe's economy.
  • To ensure that existing internal market rules are properly enforced.
  • To improve public procurement procedures to ensure that the European taxpayer gets value for money.
  • To ensure an effective framework for the protection of intellectual property rights to encourage innovation in the new knowledge economy.

Directives McCreevy was involved with include the directives on:

Frits Bolkestein (1999–2004)

Commissioner Frits Bolkestein (Netherlands) served in the Prodi Commission between 1999 and 2004. In addition to holding the Internal Market portfolio, he also held Taxation and Customs Union. His head of cabinet was Laurs Nørlund.

Bolkestein is most notable for the Directive on services in the internal market, which is commonly called the "Bolkestein Directive". The directive aimed at enabling a company from one member state to recruit workers in another member state under the law of the company's home state. It was to help the development of the internal market for services, the development of which has lagged behind that for goods.

However, there was a great deal of concern about its effect on social standards and welfare, triggering competition between various parts of Europe. This led to significant protests across Europe against the directive, including a notable protest at the European Parliament in Strasbourg by port workers, which led to damage to the building. MEPs eventually reached a compromise on the text and the Parliament adopted it on 12 December 2006; 2 years after Bolkestein left office, under the Barroso Commission.

List of commissioners

Name Country Period Commission
1 Piero Malvestiti  Italy 1958–1959 Hallstein Commission I
2 Giuseppe Caron  Italy 1959–1963 Hallstein Commission I & II
3 Guido Colonna di Paliano  Italy 1964–1967 Hallstein Commission II
4 Hans von der Groeben  West Germany 1967–1970 Rey Commission
5 Wilhelm Haferkamp  West Germany 1970–1973 Malfatti Commission, Mansholt Commission
6 Finn Olav Gundelach  Denmark 1973–1977 Ortoli Commission
7 Étienne Davignon  Belgium 1977–1981 Jenkins Commission
8 Karl-Heinz Narjes  West Germany 1981–1985 Thorn Commission
9 Lord Cockfield  United Kingdom 1985–1989 Delors Commission I
10 Martin Bangemann  Germany 1989–1994 Delors Commission II & III
11 Raniero Vanni d'Archirafi  Italy 1992–1994 Delors Commission III
12 Mario Monti  Italy 1994–1999 Santer Commission
13 Frits Bolkestein  Netherlands 1999–2004 Prodi Commission
14 Charlie McCreevy  Ireland 2004–2010 Barroso Commission I
15 Michel Barnier  France 2010–2014 Barroso Commission II
16 Elżbieta Bieńkowska  Poland 2014-2019 Juncker Commission
17 Thierry Breton  France 2019- Von der Leyen Commission

See also


  2. Base salary of grade 16, third step is €17,697.68: European Commission: Officials' salaries – accessed 19 March 2010
  3. Who’s who in the new Commission, Financial Times, November 2009
  4. My mandate, European Commission
  5. "EU nominee Michel Barnier tries to reassure City". BBC News. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  6. "The Commissioners – Profiles, Portfolios and Homepages". Retrieved 9 December 2012.
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