Von der Leyen rejects Romanian commissioner candidate

Central European candidates – particularly the Romanian one for the position of EU commissioner – could be the reason for the delayed investiture of the new European Commission headed German Ursula von der Leyen. Last month, the European Parliament refused to even hear Hungary’s candidate, former justice minister László Trócsányi, on grounds that his law firm’s government contracts constituted a conflict of interest.

That problem has since been solved, after Hungary nominated career diplomatic Olivér Várhelyi, current leader of the country’s EU representation in Brussels.

Now, however, the Romanian candidate, Victor Negrescu – named by the outgoing Social-Democrat government of acting prime minister Viorica Dăncilă – has been rejected by von der Leyen according to diplomatic sources that wished to remain unnamed.

This is Dăncilă’s third candidate. The first one, Social-Democrat Rovana Plumb, was also rejected for conflicts of interest.

Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, a former liberal politician long at odds with Dăncilă, has also said that the acting prime minister has no legitimacy to name the country’s next commissioner.

Political sciences graduate Negrescu (34), a former MEP from 2014 to 2017 and Romanian minister for EU affairs between 2017 and 2018, was voted “MEP of the year” in the Digital Agenda category of the 2015 MEP Awards.

Seemingly sharing Iohannis’ opinion, von der Leyen is believed to be waiting for a new candidate from the next Romanian government. Liberal politician Ludovic Orban’s coalition government is seeking a vote of approval from the Romanian parliament on November 4.

Originally, the new European Commission was expected to step in at the beginning of November, but now even the new December 1 deadline seems overly optimistic.

Title image: Ursula von der Leyen

Author: Dénes Albert