Macron: EU’s internal ‘crisis’ shouldn’t fester

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French President Emmanuel Macron | Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

French president says it is ‘indispensable to have a strong Commission that can carry out ambitious projects.’

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PARIS — The “crisis” between the European Commission and European Parliament over commissioner confirmations should not be allowed to fester, French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday.

“We are at a very sensitive time for Europe. There is a new Commission and a new European Parliament that are facing a political crisis that we should not allow to fester and develop,” he told the press before a working lunch at the Elysée with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Macron suffered a significant defeat on Thursday when MEPs overwhelmingly rejected his nominee for the next Commission, Sylvie Goulard.

“I believe in unity, I think it’s indispensable that solutions be found, and I think it’s indispensable to have a strong Commission that can carry out ambitious projects,” Macron said.

On Thursday, Macron had speculated that “resentment, or pettiness” may have motivated MEPs from the conservative European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats to vote against Goulard, and said he would ask Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen for an explanation.

He is expected to speak with von der Leyen over the weekend.

Earlier Friday, French European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin slammed European lawmakers for rejecting Goulard.

“It’s a major institutional crisis for Europe because without a French commissioner the Commission cannot take office,” Montchalin said on FranceInter radio. “It’s a European failure.”

French officials also expressed concern about whether the politics involved in Goulard’s rejection could lead to a long-term attempt by MEPs to weaken the Commission.

“We have a European Parliament where it’s manifestly difficult to find stable majorities, difficult to find political agreements between the executive and the legislative,” a French diplomatic official said. “Sure the EPP got its revenge, but now things have to stabilize because otherwise we won’t be able to move forward and legislate.”

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