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Sylvie Goulard to face second hearing on Thursday

Sylvie Goulard faces another hurdle to convince MEPs shes fit for the job.

The French commissioner candidate will have a second hearing in the European Parliament on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., following a meeting with representatives of political groups on Wednesday morning in which different political factions aired their concerns regarding Goulard, multiple Parliament officials told POLITICO.

The 90-minute hearing was confirmed by the Parliaments Conference of Presidents later on Wednesday.

The internal market commissioner-designate failed to assuage MEPs ethical and legal concerns that were front and center in her first hearing last week, despite sending them 58 pages of additional written answers to questions on Tuesday.

“We are still very skeptical on her attitude on the ethical question. A second hearing is the right and transparent way to come to a final assessment,” said Marcel Kolaja, a Parliament vice president and the Greens coordinator for the internal market committee.

At Wednesday mornings meeting, all groups except Renew Europe (Goulards political family) and the Socialists and Democrats said her written answers were insufficient, according to three Parliament officials.

“A majority of political groups wanted [a second hearing] at a meeting this morning. We from [the Socialists] were otherwise willing to accept her written response. But fine, now we are taking one more round on Thursday,” said Christel Schaldemose, a Danish MEP who is the S&D group coordinator for the internal market committee.

At Goulards first hearing, the S&D group raised concerns about the French politicians lucrative side job at U.S. think tank Berggruen Institute while she was an MEP, as well as about alleged misuse of EU funds related to her parliamentary assistants work.

Goulard is under investigation by French authorities and the EUs anti-fraud body over allegations that, during her time as an MEP, she used Parliament assistants for domestic political work. In her fresh answers to the committees Tuesday, Goulard stopped short of pledging to resign if placed under formal investigation.

The Greens acknowledged Goulard provided more insight on tech and single market policy in her written answers, but were unimpressed with her defense on the integrity issues. One Green official said the group is likely to vote against the commissioner-designate following her second hearing, as “many MEPs argued that Goulard didnt show enough remorse on the integrity issues” in her new answers.

“She basically argued: The Berggruen gig was not illegal, she only resigned [as Frances defense minister] because of political pressure in France [on the parliamentary assistants case]. But there is a different context at EU level,” the Green official added. Separately from the Goulard process, the Greens are calling for a revision of the rules of procedure to limit the side incomes of MEPs.

For the European Peoples Party, integrity is also a key issue, with one parliamentary official remarking on her “non-promise” to resign even if placed under formal investigation in France. The conservative group also wants to know how Goulard would deal with conflicts of interest between the three Commission directorates-general she would oversee, the official added.

The European Conservatives and Reformists could approve her after the second hearing. Zdzisław Krasnodębski, a vice chair of the Parliaments industry committee from the ECR, said Goulards additional wRead More – Source

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