The Internal Market and the Industry, Research and Energy committees questioned Sylvie Goulard, French candidate for the Internal Market portfolio.
The presidents and political groups’ coordinators from both committees will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of the Commissioner-designate.
Completing the internal market and digitalising Europe
During her introductory speech, Ms Goulard underlined the importance of completing the internal market – both for services and industry. She highlighted the need to enable companies to contribute to growth, including by supporting SMEs and cutting red tape. She also mentioned the circular economy and referred to the opportunities that solving the climate crisis could bring about for European industry. Ms Goulard also raised problems related to lack of fiscal equality in EU member states and the need to have a fair minimum wage in the EU. A new law on Digital Services will be tabled, she announced, also mentioning that a balance between freedom and security must be reached.
MEPs put forward questions on how the Commissioner-designate plans to safeguard the single market’s four freedoms – goods, services, persons and capital – and ensure that the Digital Services Act will not create new barriers in Europe. Net neutrality must be safeguarded, some MEPs demanded. The need to properly enforce single market rules was also addressed. On artificial intelligence, Mrs Goulard reiterated that the new Commission will come up with proposals within its first 100 days in office.
Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on her involvement in investigations in France and by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), related to staff payments when she was an MEP, and on remunerations she declared from a US-based think tank. The Commissioner-designate denied any wrongdoing, referred to the principle of presumption of innocence and indicated that the EP’s administrative procedure was closed.
Later in the hearing, MEPs also raised the issues of the EU Defence Fund, the EU programme Digital Europe, e-commerce, 5G and poor implementation of EU rules in some areas linked to the internal market.
You can watch the video recording of the full hearing here.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.