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The Latest: France sees 'political game' in EU nominee vote

BRUSSELS — The Latest on the confirmation hearings for the European Commission (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

The French presidency is claiming a “political game” led European Union lawmakers to reject President Emmanuel Macron’s nominee for the EU’s executive commission.

Macron’s office said Sylvia Goulard’s “competence and her commitment to Europe are not involved. They are well known by everybody.”

The European Parliament voted 82-29 on Thursday against approving Goulard as France’s member of the European Commission.

The French leader’s office said Goulard “has been subjected to a political game that affects the European Commission as a whole.”

Macron will need to find another candidate. His office says he plans to speak soon with incoming commission president Ursula von der Leyen about next steps.


2:40 p.m.

France’s nominee for the next European Commission has been rejected by EU lawmakers assessing whether she was fit for the job.

Sylvie Goulard, a close ally of French president Emmanuel Macron, had been nominated by incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to a job overseeing Europe’s internal market, industry and defence.

Goulard failed to convince members of the European parliament, who quizzed her about allegations she misused funds and consulted for a U.S. think-tank while she served in the EU Parliament.

Goulard is the third candidate to be rejected after lawmakers dismissed a pair of nominees over suspicions of conflict of interest.


11:20 a.m.

France’s nominee for the next European Commission says it will be up to the next EU chief to decide whether she needs to step down in case she is indicted in a French investigation into alleged misuse of funds.

Summoned to a second hearing by European lawmakers assessing if she is fit to become the next commissioner in charge of the bloc’s internal market, Goulard said she won’t automatically step down if handed preliminary charges.

Goulard, a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, resigned as French defence minister when the investigation was opened two years ago. She said “if I were to be formally put under investigation, I would have a discussion with (Commission) President Ursula von der Leyen.”

The EU’s anti-fraud office also is investigating Goulard.

The Associated Press