French European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin slammed European lawmakers Friday for rejecting the country’s nominee for Commissioner, Sylvie Goulard.
“It’s a major institutional crisis for Europe because without a French commissioner the Commission cannot take office,” Montchalin said on French radio FranceInter. “It’s a European failure,” she added.
Two Parliament committees on Thursday voted down the French Commissioner-designate for the Internal Market portfolio with a wide margin, in a major blow to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Montchalin said the matter had to be resolved “at highest level.”
“Now Ursula von der Leyen needs to tell us what she expects of France. She’s the one who made a proposal. She is the one who leads this,” she said.
Macron seemingly put the blame Thursday on leaders of Parliament political groups for failing to make good on an alleged deal, and on Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen who he said had reassured him that Goulard would be fine. The leaders of the Socialists & Democrats and the European People’s Party both publicly denied such an arrangement.
Visibly tense, Montchalin expressed frustration at the Parliament for making full use of its prerogative to scrutinize and veto Commission nominees.
“The parliament is not a court,” she said. “Sylvie Goulard went before three commissions, she spent six hours testifying [Goulard’s two hearings lasted 4,5 hours total], she was examined by the committee on legal affairs that is in charge of looking at whether she has conflicts of interest… this committee said nothing on conflict of interest,” Montchalin said.
Montchalin blamed political games and rancor for the French candidate’s rejection, saying the compromise worked by EU leaders on nominations for top European jobs — that had Manfred Weber, the lead candidate for the EPP, side-tracked in the process — “bothered some” in the European Parliament.
The French minister declared that France is now “awaiting instructions” from the President of the Commission on a way forward, and underlined the numerous “French ideas” contained in the work program of the Commission. “We don’t want this to be lost.”
The post Goulard’s rejection ‘a major institutional crisis,’ says French EU minister appeared first on Politico.