French President Emmanuel Macron has requested an explanation for the overwhelming rejection that his nominee for EU commissioner, Sylvie Goulard, has received by European Parliament lawmakers, AFP reported on Thursday, October 10th.
Members of the European Parliament early on Thursday, October 10th rejected Sylvie Goulard as France’s next European commissioner, which shocked Macron and incoming Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, according to Politico.
Goulard’s rejection comes after a probe into fake jobs for EU parliamentary assistants that have implicated him, sending a heavy blow to Macron, who has constantly sought influence in the EU, according to AFP.
Following the decision, Macron questioned the European Parliament for a reason behind the rejection during a press conference in the city of Lyon, citing that he had previously received assurances that the heads of the main groups in the European Parliament had agreed on Goulard’s appointment, saying, “I just don't understand.”
Macron spoke highly of Goulard, who happens to be one of Von der Leyen's three favourite proposed commissioners, saying that he is a man "of great integrity."
In an earlier statement by Von der Leyen, she had indicated that the European parliamentary groups had agreed on Goulard's name, saying, "It's ok, it's fine by them."
Macron, however, said he is focused on seeing France strengthen the internal market portfolio for which Goulard was tapped, including industrial policy, defence, and technology.
However, he still seeks to find answers behind the "small-mindedness" of the MEPs' decision.
The rejection of Goulard, who was supported by the liberal-centrist Renew Europe group, means one nominee backed up by each of the three biggest political blocs in has not generated the required backing for approval.
Romania's Rovana Plumb, supported by the Socialists and Democrats, and Hungary's László Trócsányi, who had the backing of the EPP, were also rejected by the Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee, according to Politico.
Dita Charanzová, a Parliament vice president and coordinator for Renew Europe in the Internal Market Committee, said, "I regret that Sylvie Goulard was not confirmed. This shows that merit does not always triumph over politics," Politico reported.