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Would Van Der Leyen have treated Germany or France with the same contempt, effectively vetoing a better qualified nominee?
VDL has always asked for all countries to submit two names, of each gender. VDL can ask, but each country is free to propose one name only. Last year, few countries actually did actually propose both a male and a female nominee: Romania being one of them, I think. Ireland agreed to propose a man and a woman nominees, but the Irish government was not strictly obligated to do so. The EC president can ask a country to propose someone else (Juncker reportedly rejected up to six candidates back in 2014), but nominating commissioners is first a member country's prerogative: the president will then assign a portfolio.
Macron initially proposed Sylvie Goulard, but she was voted down by the EP, along with candidates from Romania and Hungary. Breton was nominated later, in October.
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