The French candidate for the European Commission passed a second passing exam in front of MEPs on Thursday. The questions of the European politicians of the major political groups focused mainly on the scope of his portfolio rather than on the controversies related to the case of assistants of MEPs MoDem or his work with a circle of American reflection.
Sylvie Goulard, a French candidate for Internal Market Commissioner, faced MEPs again on Thursday (October 10th) at a second hearing in Brussels. She has tried to defend the integrity of her European commitment to the polemics she faces.
Speaking only in French, this polyglot reminded at its introduction that it "deeply respects the European Parliament in its role of control of the Commission" . After the hearing, it is by a simple majority that the 117 MEPs from the parliamentary committees concerned by his portfolio will decide whether or not to validate Sylvie Goulard's candidacy. The new European Commission will take office on 1 November.
Give "meaning" to your wallet
Sylvie Goulard has tried to defend the reasons for having a large portfolio, ranging from the internal market to the defense industry, while rumors of a reduction in the scope of her skills are circulating in the corridors of the European Parliament. "This portfolio makes sense because there is no separation between traditional and digital industries ," she said. "We must assume our digital sovereignty so that we do not fall behind the rest of the world. We really need breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence for example. "
Returning to her 30-year-old European commitment, she returned to the end of her introductory remarks on her work as a consultant for an American think tank, the Berggruen Institute. "I deeply regret that this two-year activity has cast doubt on my European commitment. She also recalled that she will act "in the framework of the Commission's Code of Conduct" .
One of the other concerns of MEPs is its potential indictment in the context of the affairs of MEPs Modem. "If I were to be indicted, which is not the case now, I will have a discussion with the president and we will see if we should draw the consequences. She rejected any principle of automaticity in the procedure, because "there are differences of legal culture between the different countries" .
Major political groups less about polemics
MEP Andrey Kovatchev launched the questions by questioning the French candidate on the digital market. It was understood on this occasion that the European People's Party (EPP, where the Republicans sit) had decided not to attack as strongly Sylvie Goulard controversy. At the first hearing, it was François-Xavier Bellamy (LR - EPP) who led the charge. The latter speaking during the second part of his hearing came back to "the pressure that several of his colleagues have received from governments to stop " to ask questions about these controversies.
The Social Democrats of the S & D group have asked for explanations on the broad scope of the portfolio promised to Sylvie Goulard, particularly on audiovisual issues. La Française replied that she was "not the only one to wear a heavy wallet" . On the digital, she recalled that she was "part of a team, even if it will not be simple. "
The liberals of Renew Europe (RE), including the elected representatives of La République en Marche and Sylvie Goulard, asked through the Czech Dita Charanzová what support the French candidate would provide to European companies in the framework of the regulations on digital services.
The current European Commission is supported by a majority in Parliament composed of EPP conservatives, S & D Social Democrats and RE Liberals.
Greens and eurosceptics speak only business
The Greens were the first to launch the charge on the ethical issues raised at its first hearing. The elected EELV David Carême asked him to "understand the problem of being paid as much by a private group while it was responsible for the service of the general interest . " Sylvie Goulard agreed that things needed to be clarified for MEPs. "There is no problem with the Commission because of its code of conduct which forces us to be totally independent," she said.
Manuel Bompard (LFI - GUE) asked him if "his appointment would really restore confidence to citizens in Europe? " , Saying " that she had relayed the banking lobby . " A vision that the French candidate does not share: "I was a long time member of the intergroup against poverty when I was in the European Parliament and it always seemed extremely important for me to give voice to people in need . "
She also spoke about her vision of the functioning of the market which was that of "the social market economy" after a question from the Conservatives and Reformists (CRE, Eurosceptics).
An extended hearing procedure
MEPs decided Wednesday, October 9, after Sylvie Goulard's answers to their written questions, to ask him to have a new audition. European politicians want clarification on the case of assistants of MEPs MoDem where she is involved, as well as on her work as a consultant for more than 10 000 € monthly, for a US think tank, Institut Berggruen, between October 2013 and January 2016, even though she was a MEP.
The French candidate for the European Commission had already given a long answer during a first hearing before the MEPs on 2 October. She had then recalled that the case concerning her former assistant was part of a procedure of too long dismissal and that the money had been refunded since. The Secretariat General of the European Parliament has validated this solution since, although the case continues to be studied by the French justice system.
On the question of the work with the American think-tank, she explained that the remuneration corresponded to the habits of the international organizations and that the services of the European Parliament had not seen fit to start a procedure against her.
In its written answers, the French candidate to the European Commission on Tuesday ruled out automatically resigning from the EU executive if she was indicted in the case of fictitious jobs of assistants of MEPs MoDem.
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