Wednesday

24th Apr 2019

Romania makes u-turn on European Commission candidate

Bucharest has put forward a new candidate for the job of Romania's EU commissioner after the previous nominee withdrew due to concerns in Brussels over his European credentials.

Romanian media suggest the country's EU negotiator Leonard Orban is the new commissioner-designate after liberal senator Varujan Vosganian withdrew from the running for the top job on Saturday (28 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Romania's prime minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu has proposed a new candidate for the Brussels job (Photo: European Commission)

The withdrawal followed last week's meeting with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, which failed to result in his official nomination, unlike the case in Bulgaria's nomination of Meglena Kuneva.

Mr Vosganian was accused by domestic media of past contacts with the communist Romanian secret service - the Securitate - while Brussels was not impressed with his lack of experience in EU affairs and some prominent socialists in the European Parliament questioned his business links.

Playing down the allegations, Mr Vosganian stepped aside arguing he did not want to cause a delay in the appointment of the Romanian commissioner and to damage his country's image abroad.

Romanian prime minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu welcomed the gesture, saying he believed the media speculations about Mr Vosganian's past "do not have any real basis and that all of this will be clarified in the near future."

The European Commission president is set to consider a new candidate this week - with Leonard Orban, Romania's deputy European Affairs minister and the country's previous chief negotiator with the EU having the best chance, according to Romanian press.

The other personality featuring in media reports, foreign minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, said on Sunday that he had turned down the offer as he wanted to continue in his current job in Bucharest instead, Realitatea TV reported.

The EU executive is set to announce the Romanian nominee and his portfolio early this week, with a European Parliament hearing of the two new members of the college scheduled for November and the MEPs' official vote to take place in December.

The Bulgarian commissioner designate, Ms Kuneva, has been appointed to take over the consumer protection portfolio, but it is not yet clear which will area her future Romanian colleague will cover.

EU commission plans bolstering rule of law toolbox

As EU concerns over rule of law in some member states grow, the commission opens a debate on tools to discipline unruly member states. The EU executive has launched a new probe against Poland, and put Romania on the spot.

Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban

The EU's largest political alliance, the EPP, will try to put the 'Orban issue' behind it going into the European election campaign. Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, could be expelled or suspended from the political family.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

News in Brief

  1. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions
  2. Romania adopts new rules weakening corruption fight
  3. Sturgeon pledges 2nd Scottish independence referendum
  4. Political deadlock looms at Sunday's Spanish election
  5. Le Pen in Copenhagen for talks with new key ally
  6. Trump to meet May and Macron on Europe visit in June
  7. Johnson's sister to run in EU elections on new list
  8. Weber pledges to 'block' Nord Stream 2 as president

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  2. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  3. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  4. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections
  5. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  6. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  7. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  8. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us