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Several candidates in the hot seat at the ball-trap of the commissioners. S. Goulard in the line of sight?

(B2) As with each constitution of the College of Commissioners, several candidates are under the spotlight, for past, actual or future 'business'. Everyone sharpens their knives to have ammunition in case their camp is attacked

A candidate already ejected

One candidate already seems to have 'left the road': Rovana Plumb (S&D). The former Romanian minister completely missed her hearing at the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) on Thursday (September 26), failing to clarify the accusations of conflict of interest. She is 'out'. Read : Rovana Plumb and Laszlo Trocsanyi are in the same boat. Who will fall in the water?

A second in balance

For Hungarian Laszlo Trocsanyi (EPP) also in the hot seat, it's more complicated. On the one hand, Viktor Orbán's former Minister of Justice used all his talents as a former diplomat and lawyer to clarify his situation, to the point that MEPs were somewhat stripped of any possibility of criticism, at least of a legal point of view. Evidenced by the very fair vote at the last meeting of the JURI Commission (11 votes 'against', 9 votes 'for' and 2 abstentions), as is the impossibility of writing down exactly what it is accused of at the legal level. In fact, it is above all his political positioning that is the cause. It belongs to the Orbán government and has, to a large extent, inspired or/and assumed the anachronistic policy of the Hungarian government in terms of the rule of law and the fight against migration (1). Real questions but not all legal.

Retaliatory measures in preparation?

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is also defending his candidate step by step, even if he did not rule out, after an interview with Ursula von der Leyen, finding another replacement. But if Trócsányi is ejected, for political reasons, repercussions could take place on other liberal candidates (read our latest Watch book). The European People's Party (EPP), of which Viktor Orbán's Fidesz is a member, could not leave one of its leading candidates ejected without reacting. One of his executives, hardly suspected of having an extreme sympathy for the Hungarian, told me not to " want to shoot first ". But if " our candidate is targeted, we will retaliate ».

The French Sylvie Goulard in the line of sight?

In the centrist-liberal camp, it is the Frenchwoman sylvie goulard (Renew) which thus appears in the line of sight. Implicated in the affair of the parliamentary assistants of the MODEM, she managed to get away with it honorably by reimbursing the disputed sums. Everything is clear now. But she always drags a more annoying pan: that of rather extraordinary remuneration received from an American think-tank (the Berggruen Institute) when she was an MEP. She would thus have received, according to her own statements, non-negligible sums: 36.000 euros in 2013 and 13.000 euros in 2014. That is approximately 10.000 euros gross per month according to Libération. This represents more than her MEP salary. This challenges!

She could thus well be heckled during the hearings, especially since in her answer to the European Parliament's questionnaire, she remains rather elliptical on this point (read: Parliament questionnaire: rather banal and sometimes vague answers from Sylvie Goulard). An eventuality taken very seriously, including in his own camp, even if we affect the serenity.

Two other candidates escape from the eye of the storm

To these candidates, we must add a few others who have just come under the magnifying glass of the news. The Polish candidate Janusz Wojciechowski (Conservatives/PiS) was the subject of problems over unnecessary travel expenses when he was an MEP. An investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has just cleared him, the reimbursement of the disputed sums having been accomplished.

As for the Belgian candidate Didier Reynders, the subject of a conflict of interest complaint by a former (Belgian) security officer, he is just barely getting by. The public prosecutor would have given up opening an investigation, according to the lawyer of the liberal politician, who occupies three posts today - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and 'royal informant' -. Score unequaled in the European Union.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, sentenced to two years in prison in his country, would have obtained political asylum in Hungary, by special decision of the Hungarian government.

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).