The French candidate to the European Commission, Thierry Breton, passed the first step Tuesday narrowly against the MEPs, who said in a vote that his profile did not present a risk of conflict of interest. The Committee on Legal Affairs (Juri), in charge of examining the declaration of interest of the former French Minister of the Economy, who was then CEO of the IT services group Atos for eleven years, decided that no question or further hearing was necessary concerning him. The vote, secret, has increased to 12 votes against 11. The French, which also led Thomson and France Telecom, must, after this green light, pass a hearing Thursday afternoon in the European Parliament, which will then decide whether to validate his candidacy.
Renew and EPP support
"There was no request for a supplementary question after the examination of his statement, which shows that there is no conflict of interest," responded the entourage of Thierry Breton with AFP. "He will have the opportunity on Thursday to present the coherence of the portfolio for which he is designated and how he wants to work in transparency with European parliamentarians," he added. According to concordant sources, Thierry Breton, appointed by Emmanuel Macron for a very broad portfolio including the Internal Market and Digital, was supported by the liberals of Renew and the EPP, the European right. "The EPP considered that in terms of conflict of interest, there were none," said French MEP Geoffroy Didier, a member of the Juri commission. "A past does not necessarily mean a liability," he added.
Manon Aubry "disgusted"
"I go out completely disgusted.This is a hypocrisy without name," said on his side the MEP Manon Aubry (radical left), which was favorable, along with the environmentalists and socialists, that Thierry Breton provides additional clarification in writing on his declaration of interest. "I lost the first round against Thierry Breton: the MEPs LR and LREM have just decided that his presidency of Atos does not pose any conflict of interest! Second round Thursday," tweeted Gilles Lebreton, far right MEP, also in favor of additional questions.
Taking the lead on possible suspicions, Thierry Breton announced that he sold all his shares in his former company Atos, which he left on October 31, as well as in his former subsidiary Worldline. He also left office on the boards of Worldline, Carrefour, the Senegalese telephone operator Sonatel and a French subsidiary of Bank of America. In the process of becoming the first big boss promoted European Commissioner, Thierry Breton also announced that it would automatically "recuse any decision of financial management, contractual or similar that directly concern Atos or one of its entities".