Valdis Dombrovskis is Latvia's longest-serving post-independence prime minister | Pool photo by Francisco Seco/EPA-EFE
5 things to know about Valdis Dombrovskis
The Latvian commissioner, leader on economic policy since 2014, will face anger from the US about digital-industry taxes.
By John Rega
Updated 9/8/20, 6:22 PM CET
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Two-term European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, former prime minister of Latvia, was designated to take charge of trade on Tuesday. He already oversaw the subject indirectly, as executive vice president on economic matters — which made him the coordinator for Phil Hogan on the organization chart of President Ursula von der Leyen.
Familiar with the trade portfolio and ever comfortable discussing technical matters, Dombrovskis had answers at the ready for a series of questions about trade policy on Tuesday morning — he was on stage at a Commission economics conference at the same time as the announcement. He will face many more, and detailed, questions at a Parliament confirmation hearing to be scheduled. But his career is a history of parachuting into tight economic spots.
Here are five things to know about Dombrovskis.
1. Digital-tax fighter
Dombrovskis has led a tax policy that puts Brussels on a collision course with Washington. While the tax department directly comes under Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, Dombrovskis oversees that area — including preparations for a tax on digital companies that is already an irritant to the U.S., not just for targeting American companies but for seeming to preempt international talks.