French nominee for EU won’t automatically resign if indicted

BRUSSELS (AP) — France’s nominee for the next European Commission said yesterday it will be up to the next European Union (EU) chief to decide whether she needs to step down in case she is indicted in a French investigation into alleged misuse of funds.

Summoned to a second hearing by European lawmakers assessing if she is fit to become the next commissioner in charge of the bloc’s internal market, Sylvie Goulard said she won’t automatically step down if handed preliminary charges. Goulard, a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, resigned as French defence minister when the investigation was opened two years ago.

“If I were to be formally put under investigation, I would have a discussion with (Commission) President Ursula von der Leyen,” Goulard said during her audition.

After her initial hearing left many lawmakers unimpressed and asking for more guarantees, Goulard had to submit written answers to a set of questions before she was quizzed again.

European Commissioner designate for Internal Market Sylvie Goulard. PHOTO: AFP