Sylvie Goulard, the French nominee for the next European Commission, gave only a little ground to her critics at a second confirmation hearing on Thursday, leaving her fate hanging in the balance.
Goulard, a liberal former MEP who is a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, is slated to take on a beefed-up internal market portfolio. But she has faced questions, led by the center-right European Peoples Party, over allegations that she used a European Parliament assistant for domestic political work and about whether her proposed portfolio is too big.
Goulard, who has insisted that she has not committed any offense, had previously told the European Parliament that she would commit to resign only if she was subject to a final conviction.
In her latest hearing, she told MEPs she would consult with Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen if she is placed under formal investigation. “And on my own initiative or on von der Leyens own demand, I will draw the consequences,” she told a joint hearing of the Parliaments industry and the internal market committees.
That statement left open the possibility that she would quit if placed under formal investigation, as her critics have demanded. But Goulard also insisted that such a step could not be automatic.
Goulard now faces a decision by the political groups coordinators in the two committees, who scheduled a 12.30 meeting to evaluate her performance and decide on the way forward.
She needs two-thirds of the votes at that meeting to be approved — a prospect that looked doubtful, given MEPs reactions to her latest audition. If Goulard fails at that hurdle, a vote by all MEPs from both committees will take place later in the afternoon, where only a simple majority is required.
“I am not more convinced than I was after the first hearing,” said Jens Geier, who leads the German delegation of the center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) in the Parliament. “She seemed to be a little more prepared but I heard nothing that inspires me on her political projects.”
On integrity issue, he said: “Now shes ready to consult with von der Leyen, thats a little more.”
During the hearing, Goulard also defended the scope of her portfolio, which spans from defense industry to technology, despite criticism from both the EPRead More – Source