New European Commission delayed, to take office in December


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gets in to her car after a meeting with French President lEmmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron meets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of EU summit this week. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Ursula von der Leyen will have to wait a bit longer before she takes over as the next European Commission president after the European Parliament delayed a vote on the appointment of her team on Wednesday.

The new European Commission, the powerful executive arm of the European Union which proposes laws and ensures they are implemented throughout the bloc, was initially scheduled to take office Nov. 1, but European lawmakers rejected three proposed candidates, delaying the whole process.

European Parliament president David Sassoli and the chairmen of the various political groups met Wednesday and decided not to include the vote of investiture in the agenda for next week’s plenary session.

Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch tweeted that lawmakers are now “willing to vote on time to allow new Commission to start 1st December,” and ask for the “rapid appointment of the new 3 commissioners-designate.”

The delay will allow France, Romania and Hungary to finalize their candidates after their initial choices were dismissed. The trio must be vetted before the full commission can be voted in.

In a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitions, France’s nominee for the next commission, Sylvie Goulard, was rejected last week. A close ally of Macron, she had been nominated to take a high-profile position overseeing Europe’s internal market, industry and defense.

Goulard failed to convince Parliament members who quizzed her twice about allegations she misused funds and consulted for a U.S. think tank while she served in the EU Parliament. Her rejection came after the parliament’s legal committee refused to give its approval to Rovana Plumb of Romania and Laszlo Trocsanyi of Hungary to face official hearings over conflict of interest concerns.

The current commission will stay on after November, handling day-to-day matters until the new one takes office.

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