Appointment of France’s European Commissioner for Internal Market

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Publication Date 2019
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Summary:

Reports, analyses and information on the appointment of France's European Commissioner for Internal Market, in the European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen.

Further information:

Sylvie Goulard - a former member of the European Parliament and former defence minister - was the first name to be put forward by the French government in August 2019. Ms Goulard was formally announced on 9 September by the President of the European Commission. Her portfolio was known on the following day, set to take on the role as European Commission for Internal Market. Her portfolio would include work on industrial policy and the promotion of the Digital Single Market (DSM). She was also to be responsible for a new Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space.

Following the announcement, media sources highlighted a police investigation in France into Ms Goulard's alleged misuse of EU funds on parliamentary assistants during her time as an MEP, which was reason for her resignation as defence minister in 2017.

The relevant committees of the European Parliament held a hearing with Ms Goulard on 2 October, in order to assess her capabilities to lead the portfolio. Media sources later reported that she had faced a tough session and would face further questioning at a later stage before a decision on endorsement. A second hearing was held on 10 October. Media sources later suggested that her name had been rejected by the parliamentary committees.

On 24 October, the French President indicated former minister Thierry Breton as the new French candidate for the College of Commissioners. On 29 October, Ursula von der Leyen approved Thierry Breton's nomination and his mission letter was issued on 7 November. Mr Breton was subject to a hearing at the European Parliament on 14 November. Media later reported that he had been approved as a suitable candidate.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: Sylvie Goulard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvie_Goulard
EurActiv, 11/09/2019: Von der Leyen assigns defence challenge to France https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/von-der-leyen-assigns-defence-challenge-to-france/
Politico, 12/09/2019: EU defense commissioner may face turf wars https://www.politico.eu/article/sylvie-goulard-eu-defense-commissioner-may-face-turf-wars-commissioner-hearings/
OSW: Analyses, 18/09/2019: DG for Defence Industry and Space in the new European Commission https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2019-09-18/dg-defence-industry-and-space-new-european-commission
EPRS: Briefing, September 2019: Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Sylvie Goulard - Internal Market https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2019)642201
Politico, 01/10/2019: Sylvie Goulard’s dangerous moment https://www.politico.eu/article/sylvie-goulard-dangerous-moment/
EurActiv, 10/10/2019: Why the European Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/why-the-european-parliament-rejected-sylvie-goulard/
Euro|topics, October 2019: EU Commission: Macron's candidate fails https://www.eurotopics.net/en/228466/
Euro|topics, October 2019: Macron nominates Thierry Breton for EU Commission https://www.eurotopics.net/en/229289/
Wikipedia: Thierry Breton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry_Breton
Politico, 28/10/2019: 4 things to know about Thierry Breton https://www.politico.eu/article/4-things-to-know-thierry-breton/
EPRS: Briefings, November 2019: Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Thierry Breton - Internal Market https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2019)642288

News
Reuters, 28/08/2019: France proposes central banker Goulard as European Commission candidate https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1VI0XD
Politico, 28/08/2019: Macron picks longtime ally as EU commissioner https://www.politico.eu/article/france-nominates-sylvie-goulard-as-eu-commissioner/
EurActiv, 28/08/2019: France proposes europhile Sylvie Goulard as Commissioner https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/france-proposes-europhile-sylvie-goulard-as-eu-commissioner/
France24, 28/08/2019: France proposes Sylvie Goulard as European Commission candidate https://www.france24.com/en/20190828-france-proposes-sylvie-goulard-european-commission-candidate
Reuters, 10/09/2019: EU creates defence and space branch 'to complement NATO' https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1VV1J5
Politico, 10/09/2019: Goulard faces French police over parliamentary assistants case https://www.politico.eu/article/goulard-faces-french-police-over-parliamentary-assistants-case/
EurActiv, 10/09/2019: France’s Goulard gets double internal market and defence industry post https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/frances-goulard-gets-double-internal-market-and-defence-industry-post/
RFI News, 12/09/2019: French EU commission pick interviewed by police http://en.rfi.fr/france/20190911-french-eu-commission-pick-interviewed-police
Politico, 02/10/2019: Goulard says she’ll ‘respect outcome’ of French probe, ‘regrets’ consulting work https://www.politico.eu/article/goulard-says-shell-respect-outcome-of-french-probe-regrets-consulting-work/
Politico, 02/10/2019: Goulard faces further grilling after rocky hearing https://www.politico.eu/article/goulard-faces-further-grilling-after-rocky-hearing/
Reuters, 02/10/2019: 'I'm clean', Macron's EU candidate says over corruption claims https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1WH1UN
EUObserver, 03/10/2019: French EU nominee could fall after brutal hearing https://euobserver.com/economic/146153
EurActiv, 03/10/2019: Sylvie Goulard given rough ride by European Parliament https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/sylvie-goulard-given-rough-ride-by-european-parliament/
Politico, 04/10/2019: MEPs drill down on Goulard ethics queries after hearing https://www.politico.eu/article/what-meps-want-to-know-after-sylvie-goulards-rocky-hearing/
Politico, 07/10/2019: Conservatives keep pressure on French Commission pick Sylvie Goulard https://www.politico.eu/article/conservatives-keep-pressure-on-french-commission-pick-sylvie-goulard/
EurActiv, 07/10/2019: Loiseau: Without arms exports, there won’t be a European defence industry https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/loiseau-without-arms-exports-there-wont-be-a-european-defence-industry/
EurActiv, 08/10/2019: Sylvie Goulard still to convince MEPs in ‘do or die’ week https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/sylvie-goulard-still-to-convince-meps-in-do-or-die-week/
Politico, 08/10/2019: Goulard stops short of pledge to quit if under formal investigation https://www.politico.eu/article/goulard-stops-short-of-pledge-to-quit-if-under-formal-investigation/
Politico, 10/10/2019: Sylvie Goulard sticks to her guns at second Parliament hearing https://www.politico.eu/article/sylvie-goulard-sticks-to-her-guns-at-second-parliament-hearing-european-commission/
Politico, 10/10/2019: Key MEPs reject Sylvie Goulard after second hearing https://www.politico.eu/article/key-meps-reject-sylvie-goulard-after-second-hearing/
Politico, 10/10/2019: France’s Commission pick Sylvie Goulard rejected by Parliament https://www.politico.eu/article/frances-commission-pick-sylvie-goulard-rejected-by-parliament/
France24, 10/10/2019: Blow to Macron as his EU top job pick sent home https://www.france24.com/en/20191010-blow-to-macron-as-his-eu-top-job-pick-sent-home
EUObserver, 10/10/2019: French EU nominee loses vote and is out https://euobserver.com/institutional/146221
The Guardian, 10/10/2019: Macron blames 'political game' as MEPs reject commission candidate https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/10/macron-blames-political-game-as-meps-reject-commission-candidate
Reuters, 10/10/2019: Macron cries foul as EU lawmakers snub French pick for industry job https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1WP1IO
Reuters, 11/10/2019: Amid fury in Paris, Macron warns EU of institution crisis over Commission jobs https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1WQ1MD
Reuters, 14/10/2019: French Finance Minister: not candidate to be Macron's new choice for EU post https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1WT0R0
EurActiv, 14/10/2019: Macron plays appeasement card after Goulard’s rejection https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/macron-plays-appeasement-card-after-goulards-rejection/
EurActiv, 23/10/2019: Atos CEO Thierry Breton might join race to become France’s new Commissioner pick https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/atos-ceo-thierry-breton-might-join-race-to-become-frances-new-commissioner-pick/
EUObserver, 23/10/2019: Macron ponders options for EU commissioner https://euobserver.com/institutional/146361
Reuters, 24/10/2019: Macron proposes Atos chief as French EU commissioner https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1X30HD
RFI News, 24/10/2019: Macron proposes ex economy minister, Thierry Breton, as EU commissioner http://en.rfi.fr/europe/20191024-macron-proposes-ex-economy-minister-thierry-breton-eu-commissioner
Politico, 24/10/2019: Macron nominates Thierry Breton as France’s European commissioner https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-nominates-thierry-breton-as-frances-european-commissioner/
Deutsche Welle, 24/10/2019: Macron names new candidate for French EU commissioner https://p.dw.com/p/3Rp2F
France24, 24/10/2019: Macron proposes Thierry Breton as France's EU commissioner https://www.france24.com/en/20191024-macron-proposes-thierry-breton-as-france-s-eu-commissioner-1
EurActiv, 25/10/2019: Macron’s contentious Commissioner pick might face same fate as Goulard https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/macrons-contentious-commissioner-pick-might-face-same-fate-as-goulard/
Euronews, 29/10/2019: Von der Leyen approves nominations of Thierry Breton, Oliver Varhelyi as EU Commissioners https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/29/von-der-leyen-approves-thierry-breton-oliver-varhelyi-as-eu-commissioners
EUObserver, 04/11/2019: Breton's firm hosted unlawful copy of EU police data https://euobserver.com/justice/146476
EUObserver, 05/11/2019: Commission defends Breton's Atos over police data https://euobserver.com/justice/146527
Politico, 07/11/2019: Thierry Breton: I’ll recuse myself from decisions involving former company https://www.politico.eu/article/thierry-breton-pledges-to-avoid-conflicts-of-interest-in-financial-declaration/
Bloomberg, 14/11/2019: Macron’s Second Pick for Top EU Job Survives Parliament Grilling https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-14/macron-s-second-pick-for-top-eu-job-survives-parliament-grilling
EurActiv, 14/11/2019: Thierry Breton convinces MEPs, avoids same fate as Goulard https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/thierry-breton-convinces-meps-avoids-same-fate-as-goulard/
France24, 14/11/2019: MEPs approve Thierry Breton as France’s European Commissioner https://www.france24.com/en/20191114-meps-approve-thierry-breton-as-france-s-european-commissioner
Politico, 14/11/2019: MEPs approve French Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton https://www.politico.eu/article/meps-approve-french-commissioner-designate-thierry-breton/

Official
European Commission: President-elect von der Leyen’s Mission Letter to Sylvie Goulard https://ec.europa.eu/commission/files/sylvie-goulards-mission-letter_en
European Parliament: Sylvie Goulard’s replies to the European Parliament questionnaire https://www.europarl.europa.eu/resources/library/media/20190927RES62436/20190927RES62436.pdf
European Parliament: Press Release, 02/10/2019: Hearing of Commissioner-designate Sylvie Goulard https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190926IPR62242/
European Parliament: Public Hearings of Commissioner-designate Sylvie Goulard, October 2019 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/hearings2019/commission-hearings-2019/20190910STO60740/
EPP Group: News, 02/10/2019: Cloud of doubt hanging over Sylvie Goulard https://www.eppgroup.eu/newsroom/news/cloud-of-doubt-hanging-over-sylvie-goulard
Renew Europe: News, 02/10/2019: Sylvie Goulard is the right person at the right place for the Internal market https://reneweuropegroup.eu/en/news/1334-sylvie-goulard-is-the-right-person-at-the-right-place-for-the-internal-market/
European Parliament: Press Release, 10/10/2019: Resumed hearing of Commissioner-designate Sylvie Goulard https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191009IPR63966/
European Commission: President-elect von der Leyen’s Mission Letter to Thierry Breton https://ec.europa.eu/commission/files/president-elect-von-der-leyens-mission-letter-thierry-breton_en
European Parliament: Public Hearing of Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton, 14 November 2019 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/hearings2019/commission-hearings-2019/20191108STO66102/thierry-breton-france
European Parliament: Press Release, 14/11/2019: Hearing of Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191112IPR66319/

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