Moscovici too fair for his first audition. Sentenced to catch up

MoscoviciAudition@PE141002(BRUXELLES2) Pierre Moscovici was expected at the turn in Brussels. Not really on his skills but on his past as François Hollande's Minister of Economy. It didn't fail...

A group shot of right-wing MPs

During the three hours of this great Oral, which looked more like a scratched record, most of the deputies (mainly on the right) returned tirelessly to the same subject, revolving around 2-3 questions. " Are you well placed to apply the rules of the stability pact to all States? How can you keep all your objectivity with France? ". The dice seemed cast as soon as they entered the commissary's room. It needed a victim. And the French offered a dream prey.

Reformist commissioner yes, rigorous too...

Tirelessly, Pierre Moscovici, combative, very political, responded. " I'm not here as French but as a European” he explained, calling on the spirits of his family: a Romanian father and a mother of Polish origin, psychoanalyst ". Enough to protect you for life against schizophrenia, he jokes in response to deputies insisting on his dual personality. " I would be a reformist commissioner he promises, but also to be inflexible. " I hear apply the rules of the stability pact, all the rules, for all countries, equally ».

I did not violate the European rules

Pierre Moscovici made a point of retorting, point for point, to the MEPs that France had not been too flowing with the rules of the stability pact. " I have never broken the rules. We have complied with all the rules, in agreement with the European Commission. You will not find an example that can be reproached to me in the acts. » Certainly “France is in the process of a deficit excessive” he justifies himself. But she was not alone. This procedure concerned “22 countries out of 28” and still concerns 11 countries…

Be careful not to do “French Bashing”

He also warned some deputies tempted to go to extreme lengths. " France needs Europe. But Europe needs France, a strong France. Let's not weaken this country. Which doesn't mean indulgence or lacking credibility. »

Taxation, a surprise

The Frenchman has publicly revealed that he did not expect to be entrusted with the “tax and customs” file. It was a surprise. " I had met Jean-Claude Juncker who told me that I would be Commissioner in charge of the Economy and Finance. Do not say it. I said nothing. But there's one thing I didn't know and only found out at the press conference. ».

Pledges to deputies

Moscovici gave pledges to MEPs, defending tooth and nail this monetary policy in which he finds only virtues today. " Monetary policy is smart now. It provides a whole arsenal of measures available to the Commission ».

Along the way, he abandoned the idea of ​​pooling the debt, defended in his time by the candidate François Hollande. " The time for Eurobonds has not come. In the sense that there is a solidarity between the Italian debt and the German debt. "" And it won't be the time of this mandate " he added. And he shows himself to be a strong defender “ business competitiveness (…). The structural reforms are not there to hurt but to increase the potential competitiveness of economies. »

He says he wants to work hand in hand with his two tutors, the vice-presidents Katainen (Croissance) and Dombrovskis (Euro), rather reputed to be intransigent. Summarizing the challenge in a formula: Our compass is our rules; our principle of action, collegiality. ".

But this formula (very ENA/ScPo) like the rest of the answers was apparently not enough...

Not convinced the deputies

The MEPs came out of the hearing divided: those on the right unconvinced, those on the left supporting their candidate. " The only thing that he is reproached for, in fact, is to be French and socialist ". It is " a hostage-taking” French Socialist MEP, Pervenche Bérès, told journalists. The UMP Alain Lamassoure does not budge. Pierre Moscovici has not provided a credible response to the contradiction between its stated European convictions and its own economic policy, which has led France to ask twice for the postponement of the date on which it will be able to honor its European commitments”.

A homework assignment

The group coordinators meeting starts on Thursday and will be long, several hours. The right-wing groups (Christian-Democrats, Liberals and Eurosceptics) (ECR, ALDE, EPP) do not budge. They do not want to give their discharge to Moscovici. Several hours of debate for a provisional agreement.

Parliament requests a series of “clarifications” in writing from the future commissioner. A kind of remedial homework! And the final decision is postponed until next week (when all the hearings are over). " The final judgment on his candidacy will depend on the exact distribution of tasks between him and the two vice-presidents under whom he is placed, Jyrki Katainen in charge of growth and competitiveness and Valdis Dombrovskis, in charge of the euro zone. confirms Alain Lamassoure.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

NB: long version of an article published in Ouest-France this morning

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).