Blog AnalysisEU Institutions

Hearings. Sylvie Goulard, in second session, will have to show humility

(B2) The lesson is hard for Frenchwoman Sylvie Goulard, Commissioner-designate for the Internal Market, Industry and Defense. She is the last of the candidates for the von der Leyen Commission to undergo a hearing, in the form of a catch-up oral (this Thursday morning) for a failed first hearing, and written responses still insufficient in the eyes of the majority of political groups

(© NGV / B2)

Its failure is mainly due to two reasons

One is strictly political and takes into account the atmosphere in the European Parliament in recent days. The Frenchwoman was the subject of a convergent desire of most of the political groups dissatisfied with having had their candidates 'defeated' (the Romanian for the S&D, the Hungarian for the EPP, the Pole for the Conservatives) of ' take hostages' in the other camp, or dissatisfied with the 'double standards' in the examination of conflicts of interest the JURI commission (legal affairs). There was also, behind this feeling, the desire to inflict a certain slap in the face to the big man of Europe, Emmanuel Macron.

But the other reason is more personal and more worrying in itself. The personality of the frequenter of European corridors, her taunting character, her self-importance caused a lack of confidence, even distrust or unequaled hostility. His answers were vague on substance, whether it was about conflicts of interest, or the substance of his cases in charge. Particularly in matters of defense, she made unforgivable missteps (especially a former Minister of Defense), failing to give the guarantees expected from the European Parliament, particularly on equal access to the Fund.

By refusing to endorse the 'Bieńkowska doctrine' (the current Commissioner for Industry') she lent herself to a second question on the subject during written questions. By wanting to blow the nose of this or that MP, even the German, Evelyne Gebhardt, her former friend from the time of the negotiation of the 'services' directive, she played a little game which is elegant when dinners in town, but has no place in the European Parliament.

By not quickly saying what she wanted to do to 'purge' her participation in the Berggruen Institute, a think tank run by a German-American businessman, she opened herself up to all the criticism. Well Named. In politics, we cannot constantly claim that it is 'legal' and that 'everyone does it'. This no longer meets the demands expected today from European commissioners.

During her second hearing, the former French Minister of Defense will have to show a little more flexibility and humility to be able to convince. The ball is in his court.


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).