At Thursday’s hearing, the European Parliament’s legal committee (JURI) rejected the Hungarian government’s candidate for commissioner in charge of neighborhood policy and EU enlargement László Trócsányi, over concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
JURI has established that there is a conflict of interest between Trócsányi’s candidacy for EU commissioner and his law firm Nagy and Trócsányi’s receiving of mandates from the Hungarian state, JURI vice-chairman Sergey Lagodinsky told reporters in Brussels on Thursday. Lagodinsky revealed that 11 members of the body voted against and 9 supported that the foreign affairs committee of the EP should hear Trócsányi.
As the approval of the legal affairs committee is an essential pre-condition for parliamentary hearings to take place, the procedure is now suspended.
The Commission’s spokeswoman Mina Andreeva explained to Politico that the legal affairs committee’s decisions did “not necessarily mean that a new candidate needs to be proposed.” She said the next steps would depend on how Parliament chooses to proceed, in coordination with Ursula von der Leyen. A Parliament official, however, said the legislature would soon make clear in writing that Trócsányi is not acceptable.
Lagodinsky said they will notify Ursula von der Leyen, “underlining our position and deciding what will further happen.” As a result, it is now down to the EC’s incoming president to decide how she wishes to proceed.
In his reaction, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the PM’s Office, said that “the Hungarian government has a single candidate.” He called the “attacks” against Trócsányi “fabrications” and insisted that those were “part of a series of attacks on Hungary.”
Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi commented that Trócsányi “has not failed because of his professional incompetence, but because it has become clear: he is lying and corrupt.” He added that the Orbán government would hopefully nominate someone whose “name is not tied to the implementation of the illiberal state and who is ready to represent our common European values.”
Although Gulyás insists otherwise, it has long been known that due to the controversies of the Hungarian government and Trócsányi’s role, he might have a hard time at the hearings. Not many, however, predicted that he would fail at the first hearing. It has also been aired before that the Hungarian government’s alternative nominees could be Fidesz MEPs Enikő Győri or Lívia Járóka.
While 24 nominees were cleared, Romanian candidate Rovana Plumb has also been rejected due to financial concerns.
featured image: illustration; via László Trócsányi- Facebook