Center-right EU parliament group to vote against Macron's EU candidate: spokesman




  • In Business
  • 2019-10-10 11:38:31Z
  • By Reuters
Macron
Macron's candidate for top EU job faces rejection, lawmakers say  

By Marine Strauss and Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Sylvie Goulard, France's choice to be the next head of European Union industrial policy, was set to be rejected by the EU assembly on Thursday after a second hearing in which she failed to quieten doubts over her role in a jobs scandal.

The likely rejection led by the biggest group in the European Parliament also reflects a power struggle between lawmakers and French President Emmanuel Macron about who should lead the next European Commission, the EU's executive.

Macron proposed Goulard, an experienced former French diplomat and EU lawmaker, for the post of EU internal market commissioner, responsible for European defense integration.

The center-right European People's Party will vote against Goulard later on Thursday, a spokesman for the EPP said, while the Greens, the far-left and a grouping of far-right parties also decided against her in a committee meeting.

The formal vote is expected at 1200 GMT on Thursday

Goulard has the support of Macron's liberal group in the parliament, known as Renew Europe, but needs two-thirds support from EU lawmakers in a parliament fragmented between pro- and anti-EU groups since elections to the assembly last May.

"The opinion of the EPP will certainly be to vote against her ... the line of the EPP is to vote against her," Pedro Lopez de Pablo, the spokesman for the EPP in the parliament, said.

Hostility comes ostensibly from a fictional jobs scandal at the European Parliament implicating Goulard and also for her high-paid work as an adviser for a U.S. think-tank.

"Your candidacy poses an ethical problem ... and your written answers and oral presentation don't allay our fears," Damien Careme, a French Green lawmaker, told the hearing on Thursday.

Goulard protested her innocence at her second hearing, as well as during an earlier hearing on Oct. 2.

"I am not under formal investigation but in a situation judicially different, much clearer," Goulard told lawmakers.

She also expressed regret that her work for Berggruen Institute during her time as an EU lawmaker, where she received more than 10,000 euros a month from 2013 to 2016, had cast a shadow over her candidature.

But lawmakers and aides said the EPP group is angry that Macron killed off their initiative in July to decide who would become the Commission chief, which helps decide policy for 500 million Europeans, based on the results of the European elections last May.

Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was eventually proposed by Macron and agreed by EU leaders, but EU lawmakers are unwilling to rubber-stamp von der Leyen's proposed candidates in the confirmation hearings.

Von der Leyen, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is seeking a strong mandate to take on a host of challenges for the next five years, ranging from anti-EU populists at home to a more assertive China abroad.


(Reporting by Marine Strauss and Robin Emmott; editing by Foo Yun Chee)

COMMENTS

More Related News

EU leaders make last-ditch push for budget
EU leaders make last-ditch push for budget 'miracle'
  • World
  • 2020-02-21 15:58:17Z

Feuding EU leaders made a last ditch push to agree on the bloc's trillion-euro budget on Friday, with France and Germany pushing "frugals" and big-spenders to find common ground. The tussle over money is a Brussels ritual, made more intense this time by the departure of Britain from the bloc, which has left a 75-billion-euro ($81-billion) "Brexit gap" over the 2021-27 period. "It will certainly take some time, even if it goes well," Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters.

Summit standoff as EU leaders grapple with Brexit-sized hole in budget
Summit standoff as EU leaders grapple with Brexit-sized hole in budget

The joint budget is the most tangible expression of the European Union's priorities over the next seven years - and its member states' willingness to stump up cash for them - but divisions were evident even before the talks began in Brussels. Britain, which left the EU last month, was the second-biggest net contributor to the budget after Germany. While only a fraction of member states' national budgets, it is still seen as far too much by some and far too little by others, and diplomats said it is unlikely that the gap between them can be closed over two days of talks.

EU leaders to face off in
EU leaders to face off in 'very tough' budget summit
  • World
  • 2020-02-20 02:25:28Z

EU leaders are to hold a Brussels summit Thursday to set a seven-year budget despite splits between some stingy rich nations, poorer ones wanting to preserve spending and others wanting to fund grand global ambitions. The "Brexit gap" caused by the loss of the UK's contribution is 75 billion euros ($81 billion) over the 2021-2027 period. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the eve of the summit predicted "very tough and difficult negotiations" around the table.

Austrian minister to travel to Iran amid nuclear tensions
Austrian minister to travel to Iran amid nuclear tensions
  • World
  • 2020-02-19 17:03:58Z

Austria's foreign minister said Wednesday that he will travel to Tehran this weekend amid efforts by European countries to keep alive Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers. Alexander Schallenberg said after meeting his German counterpart in Berlin that he will be taking a "European message" to Tehran on Saturday and Sunday after also meeting the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, this week.

Merkel predicts
Merkel predicts 'very tough' EU budget summit
  • World
  • 2020-02-19 15:17:04Z

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that talks to set the European Union's budget for the coming seven years will be "very difficult" at an extraordinary summit beginning Thursday. Germany and Finland belong to the circle of mainly northern European EU members that pay more into the EU budget than they get out, known as "net contributors". Such countries are keen to cap spending at around one percent of the bloc's total GDP, while the European parliament has demanded 1.3 percent.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business