Monday 1 March 2021
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European Parliament versus Macron: as long as that works out

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is to lead the new European Commission in two weeks, urges European politicians to hurry, now that 3 of the 26 members of her team have been rejected by the European Parliament. She fears that there will be a serious delay now that another French Commissioner must also be found at the last minute.

The Frenchwoman Sylvie Goulard failed to get the support of a majority of the European Parliament. After a round of written preparation and two oral hearings, the Christian-Democratic EPP and the Social-Democratic S&D groups abstained, only the liberal Renew voted in favor, and the Greens, United Left and conservative ECR voted against it.

The most important reason cited by most political groups is the legal investigation that is still being conducted in France against the former minister for possible fraud with EU subsidies. Some critics in the Brussels corridors say that it is also a form of revenge against French President Macron, who ignored and passed the European Parliament earlier this year when he did not & #8216; pointed candidates & #8217; in the new EU Commission.

In a first reaction, French President Macron Von der Leyen reproached that she had not been able to raise enough support for his candidate, and that she would have assured him that the three large groups would support Goulard. The three party leaders immediately contradicted the fact that they had been consulted by VDL, as a result of which Macron was publicly dismissed as a liar.

The liberal Sylvie Goulard would receive the post internal market, defense industry and space, but France now has to look for another candidate. Although President Macron can still hold on to his nomination, the tone of his press conference seems to make it clear that he is willing to drop Goulard, as long as France gets the influential competition, defense industry and space portfolios.

France, Romania and Hungary now have to supply candidates who can hold the approval of the European Parliament, which is scheduled to vote on the entire team on 23 October. VVD MEP Liesje Schreinemacher finds the & #8220; particularly disappointing & #8221; that Goulard did not make it. According to her, during the hearings the former minister had shown that she had the right capacities, but she was not supported for other reasons.

Most parties that voted against, including the CDA, pointed to Goulard's lack of integrity, partly due to ancillary income at an American think tank. According to Kim van Sparrentak (Groenlinks), Goulard & #8220; was not convincing on content and did not show any insight on ethical issues. The European Commission must be a model in the field of ethics and integrity. & #8221;

Ursula von der Leyen met yesterday afternoon with the presidents of the three largest groups and the parliamentary chairman. If the deadline of 1 November is not met, the Commission of Jean-Claude Juncker will have to lead the daily EU board a little longer.

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