Nearly two weeks after the resetting of Sylvie Goulard, France could choose former finance minister Thierry Breton for the vast post of European Commissioner in charge of industry and defense. But before officially proposing his name, the Elysee wants to make sure not to suffer a new humiliation.
France could choose former Finance Minister Thierry Breton for the vast post of European Commissioner in charge of industry and defense.
It has been nearly two weeks since the Paris candidate, Sylvie Goulard, was stymied. Provoking the anger of Emmanuel Macron, who, suddenly, took his time. In the government, some have pushed the candidacy of Michel Barnier, effective negotiator Brexit. But it presents to the eyes of the Head of State a major flaw: he is still a member of the EPP, the party in the European Parliament, led the charge against Sylvie Goulard.
So it's another candidate that emerges, Thierry Breton. The former Finance Minister ticks many boxes: it is a connoisseur of the world of Industry, a European convinced that this continent must raise its level of play against China and the United States. And finally he had the opportunity to work with the President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen when she was the German Minister of Defense.
The risk is that it is caught up in conflicts of interest.
It is true that the MEPs are very much straddling the principles, and rightly so. Thierry Breton will be able to argue that he had to manage this kind of situation in Bercy. Coming from the world of the company, Thomson and France Telecom, he found himself, at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, with supervision over the industry. At the time, he had a rule in place: all cases involving his former employers were handled directly by Matignon. In Brussels, as Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry and Defense, he could find himself in similar situations since his group, Atos, works in the field of defense.
Solutions exist to overcome conflicts of interest. What is certain is that before formally proposing the name of Thierry Breton, the Elysee will want to ensure that there is no risk of suffering a new humiliation.