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Hungary’s Várhelyi Very Likely to Get Much-desired Enlargement Portfolio

Ábrahám Vass 2019.11.07.

The European Commission’s next leader, Ursula von der Leyen, has picked Romanian Adina-Ioana Vălean to be the next transport commissioner, which means that Hungary would presumably get the enlargement portfolio under the leadership of Olivér Várhelyi.

Beforehand, there was speculation that von der Leyen will switch the positions and Hungary would receive the transport portfolio. However, this fresh announcement means that Hungary could keep the much-desired enlargement portfolio. While Várhelyi’s appointment as a Commissioner has already been approved by von der Leyen in October, he still has to go through the hearings.

Várhelyi isn’t the Hungarian government’s original choice for the job. Viktor Orbán wanted former justice minister László Trócsányi for the job, who left his office to be an MEP and a Commissioner. But Trócsányi failed twice at the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) over conflicts of interest.

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The three remaining commissioner-designates (in addition to Romania and Hungary’s primary candidates, the French one was also rejected at first) are scheduled to face JURI next week and if they pass, they will be heard by their subsequent committees as well, the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) in Várhelyi’s case. After all this, it is up to the EP to say (or vote on) the final word.

featured image: Várhelyi on the right; via KKM/MTI