Published On: Fri, Sep 27th, 2019

EU news: Von der Leyen suffers defeat as MEPs reject two commissioners | World | News

Romania and Hungary face having to nominate new European commissioners after the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee voted against the candidates entering the former hearing process. During a secret session, a majority of MEPs judged Hungary’s Laszlo Trocsanyi and Romania’s Rovana Plumb to have financial conflicts of interest European Parliament President David Sassoli will write a letter to Ms von der Leyen to outline the committee’s decision.

It is the first time a commissioner candidate has been rejected by MEPs before the formal hearing.

The EU Parliament’s legal affairs committee “pre-clear” all 27 nominations before confirmation interviews with MEPs, which start next week.

Ms von der Leyen now faces a tough decision between asking the Hungarian and Romanian for new nominations or to support the two already selected.

She could be offered a last-minute reprieve after the legal affairs committee agreed to meet again on Monday to re-examine the two candidates.

Heidi Hautala, a Green MEP, said: “Unless these two candidates can clear their conflicts of interest, then Ursula von der Leyen must ask the Hungarian and Romanian governments to propose new candidates.”

Ms Plumb, who was set to become the transport commissioner, and Mr Trocsanyi, the expected enlargement chief, were amongst the 10 candidates asked to write letters explaining their financial interests.

The Romanian was called into question after not revealing details of two loans worth nearly €1 million to MEPs.

One of the loans was used for a donation to her political group, the Social Democratic Party, and the other used to purchase a property.

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He also won contracts while he was a minister, including one worth around €1m to represent the government in a case related to the Paks nuclear plant.

Mr Trocsanyi told the committee: “Being on leave of absence means that I have not been remunerated by the law firm in any way.”

Zoltan Kovacs, chief spokesman for Viktor Orban, blamed “pro-immigration MEPs” for blocking an anti-migration commissioner.

Eleven MEPs voted against the Hungarian in the secret ballot with just nine supporting his candidacy.

Ms Plumb saw 16 MEPs vote against her with just six in favour.

The rest of Ms von der Leyen’s European commissioners will face grilling by MEPs, starting next week.

She faces having to rethink her entire top team if just one of its current candidates are rejected by MEPs.

The interrogations will commence on Monday, September 30, and are expected to come to a close on Tuesday, October 8.

The most senior officials will be the last to face MEPs as meetings are listed in order of importance.

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