The von der Leyen Commission is slowly taking shape, with 20 of the 28 Member States having already nominated their candidates. There is some continuity, with at least eight Commissioners returning, most notably the “first among equals”, Frans Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager, who will be the 1st VPs. Two current VPs, Valdis Dombrovskis and Maros Sefcovic, are also coming back and will be expecting roles commensurate with their experience.

The gender balance is slowly evening out, following Ursula von der Leyen’s pledge to have a gender neutral Commission. The ratio currently stands at 11 men and 8 women. This puts the pressure on the remaining countries to come forward with female candidates but the leading contenders from Italy, Portugal and Lithuania are all men. There is a real risk that if the College is too unbalanced that it could be thrown out by the Parliament, still smarting from its defeat on the Spitzenkandidat process.

Few of the new Commissioners are household names but there is at least one well-known face in Brussels, Juncker’s former spokesman Margaritis Schinas. As a former Greek MEP he knows the Parliament well, as does the new Polish Commissioner, Krzysztof Szczerski, who worked for a number of years as a policy advisor in the ECR group, before moving on to become President Andrzej Duda’s Head of Cabinet. He is unlikely to be a disruptive force in the Commission and fears that Italy or Hungary could put forward hostile candidates also seems to have dissipated. The Lega in Italy are due to put forward the name of Giancarlo Giorgetti, an under-secretary of state in the Council of Ministers, and they are aiming for the competition portfolio.

Brexit, as ever, is threatening to impact on the new Commission, which is due to take office on 1 November, one day after the UK is set to leave the EU. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that as the UK will have left, he will not be proposing a replacement for Sir Julian King. What happens if the UK is granted a further extension remains to be seen, but you could envisage Sir Julian staying in office for a short extension, maybe holding on to the Security brief that is one area the EU is keen to maintain close links with the UK.