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EU Policy. MEPs vote to rescind von der Leyen's controversial SME envoy pick | EuroNews |

Lawmakers at the European Parliament today (11 April) called to rescind the appointment of Markus Pieper as European Commission small business envoy, in a vote that passed 382 votes to 144.

The hiring has led to political cronyism allegations against Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - but it's not clear how much influence the lawmakers' vote will have over a decision taken by a separate EU institution.

The amendment proposed by MEPs from the Green, Socialists and Democrats, and centrist Renew groups - first reported exclusively by EuroNews last week - "questions whether the principles of merit, gender and geographical balance were taken into consideration" when selecting Pieper.

One of those MEPs, Daniel Freund (Germany/Greens), on Wednesday told lawmakers Pieper got the lucrative four-year posting because he's in the same German political party as von der Leyen, Germany's Christian Democrat Union.

The episode is "sad and shameful", Freund said, adding: "I don't know how we can explain it to voters."

The European Parliament plenary session has now formally agreed with Freund, and said the EU executive should re-launch the process to fill the post, which carries a €20,000-a-month salary, in a "truly transparent and open way".

A parallel amendment from Pieper's allies said that the process had been "formal, fair and multi-step" and that "assessment procedures ... should not be used for party or personal campaigning goals."

That amendment, from Ivan Štefanec (Slovakia/EPP), was not selected.

Addressing reporters immediately after the vote, European Commission Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer said "the European Parliament is certainly within its role to vote the amendments it wishes", but added that the Commission has "institutional independence" in recruitment matters.

The Commission will respond to detailed points raised in the Parliament's resolution in due course in line with normal procedures, Mamer added, confirming that Pieper will start duties next week.



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Apr 15th, 2024 at 11:18:00 PM EST
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