Cecilia Malmström has been named as the new EU trade commissioner

Cecilia Malmström has been named as the new EU trade commissioner

The incoming president of the European Commission (EC) has named the 28 officials who will be responsible for setting and enforcing European law, including the key appointment of a new trade commissioner.

The surprise appointment of Sweden's Cecilia Malmström, formerly commissioner for home affairs, to replace Karel de Gucht as trade commissioner, comes amid ongoing trade talks such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US.

EC president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker said key areas of focus for the trade agenda include "working towards a reasonable and balanced Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States, which neither threatens Europe's safety, health, social and data protection standards, nor jeopardises our cultural diversity.

"Our aim must be to conclude the negotiations on a reciprocal and mutually beneficial basis."

Other issues, he said, include "taking stock of the use of our trade defence instruments so that we can decide on the best way forward," and working to strengthen the EU's strategic partnership with Africa.

"Trade is a vital part of Europe's economic recovery, and a cornerstone of our prosperity," Malmström said in a statement to mark her appointment. She added: "We have much to gain from getting rid of barriers and opening new markets. This will be to the benefit of the European workforce, European consumers and companies as well as our foreign partners."

At the same time as appointing his new commissioners, Junker has also refocused the Commission on a "new way of working," with seven vice-presidents each leading a project team that steers and coordinates the work of a number of Commissioners depending on the projects in hand.

"This will ensure a dynamic interaction of all members of the college, breaking down silos and moving away from static structures," a statement said, adding: " The vice-presidents will all act as real deputies to the president."