Public Affairs Networking

by In Vino Rumoribis

By any stretch of the imagination Jonathan Hill’s short time in office as a European Commissioner has not been one of self-regarding publicity. In fact, he seems to have deliberately adopted an ultra-low profile.

Neither the UK or the rest of the continental media have covered his activities in any depth whatsoever. A speech entitled Capital Markets Union – finance serving the economy on the 6 November last year, followed by two speeches on the 18 November and 14 December seems to have been the highlight of his membership of the College of Commissioners.

The rest of his very limited press ‘activity’ could just as well have been handled by a Directorate-General rather than the Commissioner’s spokesperson.

Maybe having to report to vice-President Timmermans is holding him back or is Hill playing the long game? After all one of his primary responsibilities is to see the Establishment of a Capital Markets Union by 2019, for all 28 Member States of the EU, and maximising the benefits of capital markets and non-bank financial institutions for the rest of the economy, particular for SMEs.

Could he actually be under instructions from Prime Minister Cameron to keep a low profile and ‘not rock the boat’? His was not a high profile nomination and ‘keeping his head down’ may have been part of the job description, which would suit Cameron, Timmermans and Juncker.

In September last year, the Guardian, ran a profile of the Commissioner with the headline “Lord Jonathan Hill of Oareford: from Lord Who? to EU Commissioner”. It could be re-published today and entitled “Lord Jonathan Hill of Oareford: from Lord Who? to EU Commissioner Who?”

One thing can be sure, at the moment having the brief of Commissioner Hill’s press spokesperson must be one of the least demanding jobs in Brussels.

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