EU’s New Commission Chief Probably Won’t Start her Job on Time

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15 okt. 2019, 15.27

(Bloomberg) -- The European Parliament will probably postpone the confirmation of Ursula von der Leyen as the head of the EU Commission, following a debacle involving France’s pick for the bloc’s executive arm.

The president of the Strasbourg-based assembly will likely formalize the delay after a meeting with the heads of political groups on Wednesday, EU Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said. The official said it’s impossible to hold a confirmation vote on Oct. 23 as planned after three commissioner-designates, including France’s Sylvie Goulard, were rejected on ethical concerns.

Von der Leyen was picked to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker in the most powerful post in Brussels after three days of dramatic negotiations between EU leaders last summer. She secured a razor-thin majority at the EU Parliament in July, but her team of 26 commissioners also needs to be confirmed before she can start work.

The Parliament rejected nominations from Romania, Hungary and France, while her decision to name her immigration chief “vice president for Protecting our European Way of Life” came under intense criticism.

In the latest setback, French President Emmanuel Macron blamed von der Leyen for picking Goulard out of the list of possible candidates, without foreseeing EU lawmakers would reject the bid.

France has yet to put forward a replacement for Goulard, while Romania’s government collapsed, further complicating the process. Von der Leyen has yet to confirm she accepts Hungary’s new pick.

“The new calendar depends on the appointment of the new candidates,” Duch said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Ben Sills, Richard Bravo

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