If the best are shot down…

The European Parliament is not immune to the prevailing populist approach. The most deserving and entitled candidate for a European Commission post has been rejected. The legislature has started out on the wrong foot

With 82 votes against and 29 in favour or abstaining, the Internal Market and Industry Commissions of the Euro-parliament have rejected the appointment of Sylvie Goulard as European Commissioner for the Internal Market. The French candidacy, after being called for repeated auditions supposedly to discuss a suspended court sentence and a supposed conflict of interest, has been scuttled by an unprecedented alliance between the People’s Party, the Greens, the GUE (the anti-EU communists) and the sovereigntist group ID. “Political posturing”, was what the French President’s office termed it, and the rejection had very little to do with the notice of investigation dating back to two years ago (for a supposed improper use of Euro-parliament funds) and Goulard’s consultancy for the American think-tank Berggruen, which was undertaken in an entirely legal context.

What really mattered was sending a warning salvo to Emmanuel Macron and who cares if Sylvie Goulard was the perfect candidate for the post: a member of the Euro-chamber between 2009 and 2017, she is competent, thorough and staunchly pro-European. This was a revenge dish served up cold by the EPP against the French president who opposed the Spitzenkandidaten and effectively ensured that the leader of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, was not granted the Commission presidency. A power clash between the French and Germans who are rattling their sabres following the election of Christine Lagarde as president of the ECB, as they were not partial to such an important portfolio, (which includes Internal Market, Industry, Defence, Space and Digital) falling into French hands.

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