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Jutta Urpilainen, the European commissioner-designate for international partnerships, spoke to reporters outside Le Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, in Brussels on Tuesday, 10 September 2019. (Anniina Luotonen – Lehtikuva)

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JUTTA URPILAINEN (SDP), the Finnish nominee to the European Commission, is set to take charge of developing the international partnerships of the European Union.

The European Commission’s portfolios were distributed between the nominees in Brussels on Tuesday by Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission and former German Minister of Defence.

Urpilainen, who is to become the first ever female commissioner from Finland, will be able to draw on her experience as a former minister of finance and special envoy for peace in performing her broad duties, which include tackling the root causes of immigration and fostering good relations between the EU and Africa.

Although the Africa-EU strategic partnership has been identified as a priority by the 28-country bloc, her responsibilities will not revolve exclusively around the continent, according to Von der Leyen.

“An Africa-specific portfolio was discussed, but it was considered discriminatory. In that case, we would’ve had to have separate commissioners also for Latin America, Asia and the Middle East,” she explained.

Urpilainen herself stated that she is excited about the possibility to shape the bloc’s policy on Africa together with Josep Borrell, the union’s high-representative for foreign and security policy.

“There’s a critical connection between Africa and Europe,” she was quoted as saying by Helsingin Sanomat. “Africa is an important continent and partner on solutions with which we can have an effect on immigration.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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