Former Estonian Economy Minister Kadri Simson is the EU’s current energy commissioner but is unlikely to retain her role, as her Centre party is no longer in the country’s governing coalition — usually a requirement given the government picks whom it sends to Brussels.
Síkela’s political affiliation is more complicated. He serves in the coalition government of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose party is part of the conservative European Conservatives and Reformists group. But Síkela’s party, STAN, hasn’t yet decided whether to join the center-right European People’s Party or the liberal Renew after the EU election.
Síkela has a recent history with energy policy in Brussels.
He previously chaired meetings of the bloc’s energy ministers as gas and power prices spiked in the winter of 2022 during the Czech Republic’s six-month EU presidency stint. He convened several emergency meetings and helped clinch a deal on the bloc’s controversial gas price cap, a performance that earned him a good reputation among Brussels’ diplomats.
“He’s very energetic, has very good leadership skills, good on substance and knows Brussels quite well,” said a diplomat from one EU country, adding Síkela would make “a very good commissioner.”
A second diplomat added, “He proved his leadership during the energy crisis” and “has a lot of valuable contacts.”
Still, Síkela’s nomination is far from confirmed, as he must first win the approval of the five parties including his own that currently govern in Prague, said Ladislav Mrklas, a political scientist at Charles University.
“He certainly has a chance, but it is not certain that the coalition will agree on him,” Mrklas added. Síkela must also face off against candidates for the role from other EU countries, even if no one has yet made their interest in the post public.