The Elysee announced on Wednesday to have proposed the former MEP as European Commissioner in the team of Ursula von der Leyen. If his economic and European skills are recognized, it is possible that MEPs blame him for his involvement in the case of European parliamentary assistants of the Modem.
It's a sacred return to the light. Sylvie Goulard had left the French political scene and the government in the context of the case of parliamentary assistants of the Modem MEPs in June 2017. This Wednesday, August 28, the Elysee announces in a statement that she chose this woman to be the future French European Commissioner under the leadership of President Ursula von der Leyen.
Very pro-European, polyglot and technical, Sylvie Goulard has the ideal profile for a position at European level. If its competence is welcomed on social networks by the specialists of European affairs, questions are already beginning to point, particularly on the fact that the case that had driven him to leave the government has not yet been judged.
Why did you choose Sylvie Goulard?
Sylvie Goulard has a brilliant career on the European scene. Trained at ENA, fluent in German, English and Italian, this former teacher from the College of Bruges (the equivalent of ENA at the European level) worked alongside Romano Prodi, then president of the European Commission. She then took the presidency of the association of the European Movement - France, under the nose and beard of Pierre Moscovici in 2004 in an election that was played to 16 votes in an internal election. She then put forward a candidacy from civil society against that of a policy in this pro-European and cross-party association, created in 1948 at the Hague Congress.
Sylvie Goulard is then noticed by François Bayrou who places it top of the list in the West in 2009 for the European elections. Elected, then re-elected MEP in 2014, she marks the European Parliament by its work force and a great capacity for synthesis. Especially at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 and texts dubbed "Two pack" and "Six pack" of 2011 that were intended to oblige member states to meet their budget commitments. Work done hand in hand with Michel Barnier, then Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services.
Isolated within the centrist delegation where she did not want to shine by the relationship, she finally leaves the corridors of Strasbourg and Brussels to join the government of Édouard Philippe. Since her rapid resignation in June 2017, she became Deputy Governor of the Banque de France in January 2018.
A profile so very "European" and a logical career for this native of Marseille and author of several books on Europe, the Franco-German couple and Turkey.
Is the parliamentary assistants business over?
The only black spot in his career, his departure from the government on 20 June 2017 along with two other ministers Modem, François Bayrou and Marielle de Sarnez, because of suspicions of fictitious jobs weighing on the centrist party in the European Parliament. At the time, the head of the Ministry of the Armed Forces had claimed her good faith and said "to resign to prepare her defense" .
The Libération newspaper claimed that François Bayrou's party had put in place a system to pay its permanent employees through fictitious jobs as "local" assistants of MEPs Modem. The week before, the investigation cell of Radio France revealed that a dozen permanent members of the centrist party had at one time been paid as European parliamentary assistants.
After the 2009 European elections in which the centrist party came in only fourth place and the legislative elections where the party had only five elected in the National Assembly, the Modem finds itself in a difficult financial situation. Several of his employees become local assistants to MEPs in the European Parliament.
The question is whether these assistants, paid by the European taxpayer, did a good job for the MEPs in addition to their activity for the party. Multiple contracts are frequently used in politics to pay assistants.
After a preliminary investigation by the Paris public prosecutor's office in March 2017, targeting around 20 MEPs from all sides, followed by an investigation targeting the Modem, a judicial investigation against X, entrusted to Parisian investigating judges, was opened in July 2017 for " breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust and scams " .
The case has since experienced some twists and turns. Especially on April 2, when the home of Stéphane Thérou, cabinet director of François Bayrou, was raided in Pau, city whose president of the Modem is mayor. Stéphane Thérou was also heard in open court by the investigators.
François Bayrou had judged "nothing more normal than an investigation, which we had more news for two years, seeks to obtain precise information on the rigorous and unsuspected work of Stéphane Thérou" .
Can we blame him for the money from an American think-tank?
Another criticism of Sylvie Goulard, her position as "special adviser" for the Berggruen Institute, an American think-tank. The amount of the remuneration, 10,000 € gross monthly, had asked about the services provided, while she was MEP.
However, there is nothing illegal if she has declared these emoluments in her financial statement to the European Parliament. It is from the moral point of view that the criticisms were made because the services provided for such a salary are not as simple to explain as the writing of a report. The same type of reproach was addressed to the former president of the liberal group in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, also adept at this type of mission.
As European Commissioner, she will not be able to do this kind of work.
Will his candidacy be validated by MEPs?
Before becoming European Commissioner, Sylvie Goulard will hold a public hearing before MEPs in the coming weeks before a vote on the whole Commission in late October. These hearings are sometimes tense when a political group does not want a candidate. As in 2014 for Pierre Moscovici.
The Socialist, though former Minister of the Economy under Francois Hollande, had had to go through the heat of the questions of the right-wing MEPs (especially among the Germans) who publicly doubted his ability to hold the member states their budget in the context the famous 3% deficit allowed.
In the end, it was actually a three-band bill to force their Social Democrats colleagues to leave the right-wing Spanish commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, alone. In the end, despite tense hearings, MEPs had validated the entire Juncker Commission.
It is therefore unlikely that the MEPs will drop Sylvie Goulard (and the rest of the Commission consequently), as much because of the weight of the liberal group in the European Parliament (Renew Europe, where the MEPs LREM are the main delegation) that because of the recognized competence of Sylvie Goulard.
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