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Sylvie Goulard proposed by France to be European Commissioner

2019-08-28T16:19:59.345Z

Member of the first government of Edouard Philippe in June 2017, Ms. Goulard had asked to leave after the opening of a preliminary investigation of breach of trust targeting his party, the MoDem.


With a few days late, France has nominated her candidate for the post of European Commissioner. This is Sylvie Goulard, former Minister of Arms and former MEP, said a French diplomatic source in the World .

According to the Elysee, it is "the European experience" of Ms. Goulard but also his "vision of the issues" that have presided over the choice of Emmanuel Macron. "We are today at a critical moment, France wants to launch a European Act II, to have a more efficient and ambitious Europe: the president wanted someone capable of bringing this change," says a councilor of the head of the 'State. "Sylvie Goulard has an excellent reputation in the Commission, she has a recognized quality of work, she is multilingual, knows Germany very well , " says one at the Elysée.

Sylvie Goulard is also close to the head of state. She was one of the first to rally the running candidate!, Joining her campaign team in October 2016, at a time when Emmanuel Macron's candidacy was still highly skeptical. "She is a committed person from the beginning, partly writing the president's European program and totally sharing her vision. There is a strong alignment between them, " says a relative. Mr. Macron had also resettled Ms. Goulard at the Bank of France after his resignation from the government and his name had circulated among the candidates of France for the European Central Bank, a position finally awarded to Christine Lagarde.

"Blitz"

Member of the first government of Edouard Philippe in June 2017, Ms. Goulard had indeed asked to leave after the opening of a preliminary investigation for breach of trust against his former party, the MoDem, in the case of Parliamentary assistants in the European Parliament. The investigation, still in progress, seeks to determine whether, as in the case of the National Gathering, the centrist party was able to reward its employees with credits devolved to parliamentary assistants of elected representatives. Ms. Goulard was then appointed in January 2018 to the Banque de France as Deputy Governor.

According to our information, the decision to send Ms. Goulard to Brussels has been the subject of intense debate in the entourage of Emmanuel Macron, which would explain the delay in the notification of the French choice to the Commission. Several have warned the head of state on the risk of seeing the French candidate relied on by the European Parliament, given the ongoing instruction on parliamentary assistants MoDem but also the revelations of the press on pay Ms. Goulard received from the Berggruen Institute, an American think tank, when she was a member of the European Parliament.

"This appointment will create a blitz in Strasbourg [seat of the European Parliament] , given the ethical atmosphere of the moment," worries a close to the head of state, who says he does not understand the stubbornness of the president. "Berggruen, it's a Fillon squared case, it's going to cause a blast. The decision of France is very imprudent, " abounds another, which pleaded rather for the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire or the former European Commissioner Michel Barnier. The names of the Minister of the Armies, Florence Parly, and the work, Muriel Pénicaud, were also among the most cited.

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"High risk" choice

Recognized figure in Brussels, especially given its unwavering commitment to the construction of Europe and the eight years she spent in the European Parliament, Mrs. Goulard has always been close to the federalist current, embodied by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and the MEP Belgian Guy Verhofstadt. She is also close to Mario Monti, former Italian Prime Minister and former European Commissioner for the Internal Market.

Considered "high risk" by a Brussels source, "daring" by another, the choice of the French president is, in any case, promised to spark debate. Because Sylvie Goulard is also known for her outspokenness and what many liken to a famous "French arrogance" . Ms. Goulard is particularly known for her knowledge of topics such as European defense or major economic issues. On these, she worked extensively during the crisis in the euro area.

Commission takes office on 1 November

His appointment by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron - two days after the deadline set by the Heads of State and Government, which began to talk - also suggests that the goal of Paris would be to get a "big" economic and financial portfolio, or even competition, rather than a climate policy-related Commissioner. Knowing that at least two countries are also eyeing the portfolio that could fall to the French contender: Poland, whose nominee has withdrawn because he was offered agriculture, and Belgium, who proposed Didier Reynders who was minister of finance in his country for about ten years.

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It is now up to Mrs von der Leyen, the new President of the Commission, to accept or not the dossiers submitted by the Member States and then to award the successful candidates a portfolio in the team which will take office on 1 November. It is supposed to fix the attributions of the ones of the others by September 15. The process must end with the vote of inauguration of the new Brussels executive on October 22, during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Cédric Pietralunga and Jean-Pierre Stroobants (Brussels, European Office)

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Source: lemonde

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