The President of the European Commission has reprimanded the German Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, in front of the College of Commissioners. EURACTIV France reports.
Günther Oettinger’s editorial on the French budget deficit, published on 20 November in Les Echos, was not received well in France. One high-level French diplomat described it as “unfortunate,” and added that they were pleased to hear that the German Commissioner had been “called to order by the Commission President”.
In a statement with a thinly veiled double meaning, Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva told journalists that the President of the Commission was not “a teacher that should be giving lessons to politicians, who are responsible people”.
Reproach from the President
According to a source within the Commission, President Juncker had addressed this same scathing comment to the College of Commissioners earlier this week, by way of reprimanding the German Commissioner. The source told EURACTIV that “the President wanted to convey the message that this was not what he needed”.
In his editorial, seen by many as a diatribe against France, the Commissioner said France was a “repeat offender” that required a firm hand. Our French source said “it was his branding of the country as a repeat offender that went down particularly badly”. The Secretary General of the French Socialist party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, responded angrily to the text, even going so far as to say that Commissioner Oettinger’s unchecked outburst constituted “a resigning matter”.
Commissioner Oettinger’s cabinet declined EURACTIV’s request for a comment.
The German Commissioner’s editorial failed to have the desired effect, as the Commission announced its plan to delay the opening of the disciplinary procedure against France for its excessive deficit.
Oettinger’s views on the situation of the French budget came as no surprise to many, including our French source, who told EURACTIV that “Gunther Oettinger had already shown himself to be a very German Commissioner while he was Commissioner for Energy”.