EU Commission: candidates under scrutiny

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is currently reviewing the candidates put forward by Ursula von der Leyen for the EU Commission. The Romanian candidate Rovana Plumb and the Hungarian Laszlo Trócsányi have been rejected. Commentators examine the reasons.

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Ziare (RO) /

Suspect bartering in Romania

The MEPS rejected the Romanian commissioner candidate Rovana Plumb because of two controversial loans totalling almost a million euros. The PSD politician claims she repaid one loan amounting to 170,000 euros on the weekend by offering the creditor two apartments, which were accepted. This manner of settling debts exposes the "clan economy" in Romania, writes Ziare:

“Let's assume Plumb is telling the truth and she repaid her debt with two apartments. That means a number of functionaries would have had to initiate this transaction on the weekend. It's hard to believe that in a democratic state a politician could be influential enough to conclude such a transaction from one day to the next. In a hijacked state, however, the ruling party retains its privileges by turning the authorities into little clans that it controls.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

An attack on Orbán

The MEPs have made László Trócsányi a scapegoat for Hungary's policies under Viktor Orbán, Magyar Nemzet criticises:

“Trócsányi was rejected because as former minister of justice he occupied a key position under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He was punished by proxy for Hungary's immigration policy, which is fundamentally different from that of Brussels, but also for the legal measures taken against migration which were described so negatively by foreign newspapers and aid organisations. What's more, as former justice minister Trócsányi was also made to pay for the changes in the Hungarian legal system. ... In short, he had to atone for all of the measures taken by the Orbán government over the past nine years that the illustrious elites in Brussels found fault with.”

Libération (FR) /

Too many inconsistencies

The EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee has rejected the designated EU commissioners Rovana Plumb from Romania and Laszlo Trócsányi from Hungary. Things could get tight for other candidates too, writes Libération's Brussels correspondent Jean Quatremer:

“Now that Plumb has tripped up over a dubious - to say the least - campaign loan, and Trócsányi over his ties to his former law firm, it's difficult to imagine how [the designated French commissioner] Goulard making it through this process. And the same goes for [the Croatian] Šuica, who's having major difficulties explaining where her five million euros in assets came from. ... Ursula von der Leyen will have no choice but to demand that the other states also send better candidates. Given her slim majority, she's got very little maneuvering room when it comes to standing up to the MEPs.”

Polityka (PL) /

Green light for Polish candidate

Polityka believes the Polish candidate doesn't have too much to worry about today despite the criticism:

“The [EU Parliament's] legal affairs committee Juri tormented Janusz Wojciechowski a little for not properly registering an apartment he bought on credit in Brussels in his financial declaration. But it gave him the green light. Last Friday the European Anti-Fraud Office Olaf announced the end of the procedure in which MEP's financial statements have been audited since 2016. Parliament paid 11.243 euros too much to Wojciechowski, but he has already reimbursed it. ... If both the EPP and the Socialists & Democrats' group support Wojciechowski, which is not out of the question, he will probably pass the vote on Tuesday.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

This is proper scrutiny

For Sydsvenskan, the meticulous scrutiny of the commissioners-designate is proof that the EU is more democratic than some think:

“To some extent this is clearly a political trial of strength between party groups and a demonstration of power by the Parliament. But far more importantly it is a thorough examination to ensure that future commissioners meet the requirements for the proper fulfilment of their duties. Not in the interests of their own countries or parties, but in the interests of the Union as a whole. Everything happens on the open stage and is broadcast live on the Internet. ... The EU is usually accused of a democratic deficit. There is much truth in this criticism, but the EU is better than its reputation in terms of scrutiny by elected representatives.”