Macron nominates Thierry Breton for EU Commission
After his first candidate was rejected by the European Parliament, Macron has now proposed the manager and former finance minister Thierry Breton as France's EU commissioner. Media in France criticise that Breton worked for companies that he would be in charge of monitoring if he is appointed. Is there a real conflict of interests?
A defiant reaction from the French president
Macron's proposal can certainly be interpreted as an act of provocation, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“After his fiasco with a candidate who was rejected by the EU Parliament owing to financial scandals, Emmanuel Macron has sent a man to Brussels who will seem like a conflict of interests personified to ethics purists. ... This is a defiant gesture and therefore typical of Macron. The president is also putting Ursula von der Leyen in a risky situation with this move. He had already blamed the future head of the EU Commission for the failure of his first candidate Sylvie Goulard. But Breton isn't to blame for all this. He's a good candidate ... . Breton's supposed weakness is in fact a strength: he knows what he's talking about. Anyone who expects competence from an EU commissioner can't at the same time reproach him for knowing his subject from practical experience.”
Candidates subject to paradoxical expectations
People don't really know what they should expect from public officials, L'Opinion sighs:
“Is it better to nominate someone for a political office who is unschooled in the area entrusted to them, or someone who is an expert? ... Weaned on social networks and fake news, public opinion is caught in a dangerous paradox: demanding that politicians be both competent (regarding their portfolio) and without a past (and thus inexperienced). This basic conflict between naivety and efficiency must be resolved one day. Until then, every successful exchange between politics and real life is to be welcomed.”