EU Commission: Macron's candidate fails

The European Parliament has rejected the designated French EU commissioner Sylvie Goulard after a second hearing, citing doubts about Goulard's integrity. In France Goulard has been the target of criticism for some time because of a scandal involving feigned employment and on account of her activities as a consultant for a private investor for several years. European commentators suspect, however, that there were other motives behind the vote.

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Financial Times (GB) /

Rebellious parliament threatens to paralyse EU

The tough negotiations over the confirmation of the EU Commission do not bode well, the Financial Times fears:

“It is hard not to see political revenge as the bigger motive behind Goulard's rejection. With one socialist and one conservative out, it was the liberal family's turn to suffer a blow. ...This show of force by a parliamentary committee underlines the difficulties Ms von der Leyen will face in building parliamentary coalitions behind the commission's legislative proposals. Today's more fragmented assembly may better represent public opinion. But it could also be more unpredictable, and EU policymaking may become more dysfunctional. It does not bode well for Europe's ambitions to be a political power.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Weber takes revenge on Macron

The EU parliamentarians are putting Macron in his place, is how La Libre Belgique interprets the rejection of Goulard:

“The French president is paying for the political humiliation to which he subjected the EU parliament by sabotaging the lead candidate principle in the election of the Commission president. The EPP leader Manfred Weber, who was rejected in July, has given Macron a taste of his own medicine by bringing his full weight to bear in order to remove Sylvie Goulard. Two years ago the parliament was delighted when a French president full of ambitions for Europe appeared on the stage. He should stick to this course but he mustn't get the idea that everything is his due and he must remember that the house of Europe belongs to the whole community.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

It is right to expect a lot of EU commissioners

Interpreting the veto as Weber's revenge on Macron does not go far enough, the Süddeutsche Zeitung counters:

“Although she speaks four foreign languages perfectly Goulard is unable to explain convincingly in any of them why she resigned as minister in Paris in 2017 following a scandal involving feigned employment in her party, yet the same issue, despite ongoing investigations, is not an obstacle to a job in Brussels. Given that she was slated for the mega portfolio of the internal market, applying the highest standards is appropriate. It is right and proper that the members of the European parliament should expect more of future EU commissioners, and the logical implication is that the level of additional income that EU parliamentarians are allowed to receive should be limited, as the Greens are demanding.”