Member countries were due to name their candidate for the European Commission until this Monday. As it was already revealed, the Fidesz-led government wants former Minister of Justice László Trócsányi to become Hungary’s new Commissioner. However, turbulent times and certain other factors could easily hinder him to become so.
At this point, it is only certain that Tibor Navracsics would be replaced. Although he intended to stay, he has recently grown a soft-spoken critic of certain Fidesz policies and actions, and therefore reportedly lost Viktor Orbán’s trust.
His experience and previous jobs would make László Trócsányi an ideal candidate: he has served as constitutional judge, minister of justice, and ambassador as well.
On the pro side, von der Leyen will probably take Budapest’s request into consideration, as it has supported her ambition to become EC president from the beginning. In addition, she also takes the matter of geographical balance into consideration, given that EU members from Central and Eastern Europe did not get any key positions after the EP elections.
Constructive discussions at second meeting with President-elect @vonderleyen. I believe Hungary has an important contribution to make to the EU project. @EU_Commission@EUparliament @EPPGroup
— László Trócsányi (@trocsanyi) August 28, 2019
Rule of law and other controversies
However, there are certain factors on the con side that might weaken Trócsányi’s position. 444.hu suggested for example, that more radical, EU-critic countries would become targeted at the hearings and talks. But while Poland has recently made a turn towards compromise in this matter, Italy has an ongoing political crisis, and this can potentially make Trócsányi an easy, No. 1 target.
The site also notes that he was Orbán’s Minister of Justice at a time when EU lawsuits were launched against Hungary on the systematic dismantling of the rule of law. He has also led Hungary’s legal challenge against the Council’s decision about the distribution of refugees and migrants. He is also the no.1 author of certain constitutional changes that placed Hungarian sovereignty over EU legislation, and this contradicts a Commissioner’s role.
What is more, he masterminded the implementation of controversial public admin courts. According to speculations, Fidesz decided to postpone its implementation in order to move towards compromise and to help Trócsányi’s way.
In addition, von der Leyen would like to see an equal number of men and women as commissioners. Gender parity could also be disdvantegeous for Trócsányi, as currently there is a male majority among nominees.
As a result, Fidesz MEPs Enikő Győri or Lívia Járóka are often mentioned as Orbán’s potential plan B nominees.
One vote on the whole Committee
All the while, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi claimed on his Facebook page quite confidently, that Trócsányi would “certainly fail at the hearings.” He also said they would do anything to prevent Trócsányi to become Hungary’s Commissioner.
Commissioner-nominees will be heard by the relevant European Parliament committees in September, while the voting on the new Commission is planned for October. MEPs however, vote about the whole Commission at once.
featured image: László Trócsányi (r) in the EP (illustration); via MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák