Appointment of Hungary’s Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

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Publication Date 2019
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Summary:

Reports, analyses and information on the appointment of Hungary's European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, in the European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen.

Further information:

László Trócsányi - a former justice minister in Hungary and elected member of the European Parliament - was formally announced on 9 September 2019 by the President of the European Commission as Hungary's appointment for the College of Commissioners. His portfolio was known on the following day.

His poor record on issues relating to rule of law - in many aspects due to legislation overseen by Mr Trócsányi - was predicted by analysts as subject to thorough grilling by the European Parliament's relevant committees before endorsement. However, on 26 September the Parliament's legal affairs committee announced it would not support his nomination due to concerns relating to his financial statements. Despite criticism, the Hungarian government eventually replaced Mr Trócsányi with Olivér Várhelyi as candidate to the College of Commissioners on 30 September.

On 29 October, Ursula von der Leyen approved Oliver Varhelyi's nomination and his mission letter was issued on 7 November. Mr Várhelyi was subject to a hearing at the European Parliament on 14 November. It was later reported that he had initially put on hold  by the parliamentary committees and was requested to provide written answers to further questions. Media sources reported he was eventually endorsed on 18 November.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Hungary Today, 30/08/2019: Trócsányi’s Way Not Paved to the European Commission? https://hungarytoday.hu/laszlo-trocsanyis-way-not-paved-european-commission/
Balkan Insight, 11/09/2019: Hungary’s Celebrations Over Enlargement Post May Prove Premature https://balkaninsight.com/2019/09/11/hungarys-celebrations-over-enlargement-post-may-prove-premature/
Balkan Insight, 13/09/2019: Trocsanyi Nomination Shows Something is Rotten in the Commission https://balkaninsight.com/2019/09/13/trocsanyi-nomination-shows-something-is-rotten-in-the-commission/
ECFR: Commentary, 17/09/2019: A win for Orbán? Hungary and the new European Commission https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_a_win_for_orban_hungary_and_the_new_european_commission
OSW: Analyses, 18/09/2019: Controversy over the Hungarian candidate to the European Commission https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2019-09-18/controversy-over-hungarian-candidate-to-european-commission
EurActiv, 18/09/2019: Is von der Leyen on course to ease tensions with Hungary? https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/is-von-der-leyen-on-course-to-ease-tensions-with-hungary/
Hungary Today, 01/10/2019: Who is Olivér Várhelyi, Orbán’s Newly Nominated Commissioner? https://hungarytoday.hu/who-is-oliver-varhelyi-orbans-newly-nominated-commissioner/
Balkan Insight, 02/10/2019: Do Not Leave EU Enlargement in Orban’s Hands https://balkaninsight.com/2019/10/02/do-not-leave-eu-enlargement-in-orbans-hands/
EPRS: Briefings, November 2019: Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Olivér Várhelyi - Neighbourhood and enlargement https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/642196/EPRS_BRI(2019)642196_EN.pdf
Politico, 14/11/2019: Close, but no Magyar https://www.politico.eu/article/close-but-no-magyar-european-commission-hearings-oliver-varhelyi-adina-ioana-valean-thierry-breton-ursula-von-der-leyen/

News
The Guardian, 08/09/2019: Viktor Orbán’s choice for EU commissioner faces 'rough ride' https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/08/viktor-orban-eu-commissioner-rough-ride-laszlo-trocsanyi-hungary
Balkan Insight, 10/09/2019: Hungarian EU Commissioner Nominee ‘Undermined Rule of Law’ https://balkaninsight.com/2019/09/10/hungarian-eu-commissioner-nominee-undermined-rule-of-law/
Hungary Today, 10/09/2019: Trócsányi Would Get Desired Enlargement Portfolio in EC https://hungarytoday.hu/trocsanyi-commissioner-enlargement-portfolio-ec/
EurActiv, 01/10/2019: After setback, Hungary offers its EU ambassador for Commissioner https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/after-setback-hungary-offers-its-eu-ambassador-for-commissioner/
Politico, 01/10/2019: Hungary names EU ambassador as new Commission nominee https://www.politico.eu/article/hungary-names-eu-ambassador-as-new-commission-nominee-oliver-varhelyi-viktor-orban-laszlo-trocsanyi/
Balkan Insight, 01/10/2019: Hungary Proposes New EU Commissioner After Trocsanyi Rejection https://balkaninsight.com/2019/10/01/hungary-finds-replacement-commissioner-in-current-eu-ambassador/
Hungary Today, 01/10/2019: PM Orbán Proposes New Commissioner Designate after Von Der Leyen Initiates to Replace Trócsányi https://hungarytoday.hu/pm-orban-proposes-new-commissioner-designate-after-von-der-leyen-initiates-to-replace-trocsanyi/
Hungary Today, 10/10/2019: EC Commissioner Nominee Várhelyi Skills Cannot be Questioned, says PMO Head https://hungarytoday.hu/ec-commission-varhelyi-skills-pmo-head/
Portfolio.hu, 29/10/2019: Ursula von der Leyen green-lights Hungary's commissioner nominee replacement https://www.portfolio.hu/en/eu-funds/20191029/ursula-von-der-leyen-green-lights-hungarys-commissioner-nominee-replacement-405403
Hungary Today, 29/10/2019: Hungary’s Várhelyi Formally Backed by von der Leyen for EU Commissioner-designate https://hungarytoday.hu/varhelyi-leyen-eu-commissioner/
EUObserver, 14/11/2019: Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban https://euobserver.com/institutional/146609
RFE/RL, 14/11/2019: Hungary's Commission Candidate Lays Out Vision For Western Balkans, Moldova https://www.rferl.org/a/hungary-commissioner-varhelyi-western-balkans-moldova/30271504.html
EurActiv, 14/11/2019: Hungary’s Commission pick survives enlargement test, deflects on Orban https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/hungarys-commission-pick-passes-enlargement-test-deflects-on-orban/
Balkan Insight, 14/11/2019: EU Enlargement Nominee Eyes 2020 Serbia-Kosovo Deal https://balkaninsight.com/2019/11/14/eu-enlargement-nominee-eyes-2020-serbia-kosovo-deal/
Hungary Today, 14/11/2019: Várhelyi on Hearing: Pledges Working Independently, Arguing National, European Interests Need Not Be Separated https://hungarytoday.hu/varhelyi-on-hearing-pledges-working-independently-arguing-national-european-interests-need-not-be-separated/
Portfolio.hu, 14/11/2019: Hungarian Commission candidate put on hold by EP committee https://www.portfolio.hu/en/eu-funds/20191114/hungarian-commission-candidate-put-on-hold-by-ep-committee-407133
Politico, 18/11/2019: December Commission start on track after Hungary’s candidate wins approval https://www.politico.eu/article/hungarian-candidate-gets-approval-from-parliament-committee-oliver-varhelyi/
Politico, 22/11/2019: Viktor Orbán: Incoming EU commissioner ‘an excellent Hungarian patriot’ https://www.politico.eu/article/incoming-eu-commissioner-an-excellent-hungarian-patriot-viktor-orban-oliver-varhelyi/
EurActiv, 25/11/2019: Orban says Hungary to increase its EU influence with the enlargement portfolio https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/meps-ready-to-fight-against-member-states-on-eu-budget/

Official
Hungarian Government: News, 13/09/2019: In László Trócsányi Hungary has nominated a magnificent candidate to the European Commission https://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/news/in-laszlo-trocsanyi-hungary-has-nominated-a-magnificent-candidate-to-the-european-commission
European Commission: President-elect von der Leyen’s Mission Letter to Olivér Várhelyi https://ec.europa.eu/commission/files/president-elect-von-der-leyens-mission-letter-oliver-varhelyi_en
European Parliament: Public Hearing of Commissioner-designate Olivér Várhelyi, 14 November 2019 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/hearings2019/commission-hearings-2019/20191108STO66101/oliver-varhelyi-hungary
European Parliament: Press Release, 14/11/2019: Hearing of Commissioner-designate Olivér Várhelyi https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191112IPR66317/

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