Main EU political groups expected to back France’s new Commissioner pick

By proposing a candidate, who is compatible with the European People's Party (EPP), France has put all the chances on its side. EPA/FRANK RUMPENHORST

The European Parliament will be hearing France’s second EU Commissioner candidate, the former CEO of Atos, Thierry Breton on Thursday (14 November). But this time, France has secured the support of the main political groups. EURACTIV France reports.

By picking a candidate who should be compatible with the European Parliament’s strongest political group, the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), and by ensuring the Socialists & Democrats group have their demands met, Emmanuel Macron’s new pick should garner enough support to get the internal market and defence industry portfolio.

Is giving pledges to the right enough to ensure a Commissioner candidate is successful? Thierry Breton’s hearing, which takes place tomorrow at 1 pm, appears to be making Paris slightly tense.

But the French government considers that the issue of conflicts of interest has been seriously examined and that the 64-year-old candidate should pass “if MEPs are acting in good faith”.

Atos CEO Thierry Breton might join race to become France's new Commissioner pick

After the European Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard as the French Commissioner, rumours suggest that Thierry Breton, the CEO of French multinational Atos, might be in the race. EURACTIV France reports. 

Renew, EPP and S&D support the candidate

By proposing a candidate, who is compatible with the European People’s Party (EPP), France has put all the chances on its side.

And by choosing a member, who used to be part of the Gaullist and conservative political party RPR, Paris has been paying attention to the right-wing group. Indeed, the EPP had sworn to ” kill ” its previous candidate, Sylvie Goulard, in a WhatsApp message exchange that had inadvertently become public.

On the left, the S&D group has taken advantage of this potentially tense situation to pass on their demands.

This morning (13 November), the European Commission announced that it had reviewed the titles of individual Commissioners who had been the subject of debate. Especially the title for Vice-President-designate Margaritis Schinas, whose portfolio is now called the ‘promotion’ of the European way of life and not ‘protection’.

This was a small victory for the socialists, following yesterday’s tense vote of the legal affairs committee (JURI).

With the support of Renew, EPP and the S&D group, who continue to be tired of this saga blocking the functioning of the institutions, the candidate is now left to face potential criticism from the radical left, the Greens and the far-right, who will no doubt speak tomorrow during the three hours of hearings.

In his written responses to MEPs, the candidate did not reveal much about his programme but insisted on integrity.

In particular, he noted that he no longer has any dealings or mandate of any kind with regard to any associations or companies.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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