Turmoil in European Parliament: Lenarcic to be enlargement commissioner instead of Trocsanyi?
Opponents of Trocsanyi's appointment as commissioner are making strong objections at the expense of EC President Ursula von der Leyen
According to sources from the Socialists and the Greens in the European Parliament, there is a proposal for Slovenia's Janez Lenarcic to replace Hungary's candidate for EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Laszlo Trocsanyi, who has been challenged by a part of the political forces in the EU.
It is also thought that Trocsanyi may just swap places with Lenarcic, who has been proposed as the crisis resolution commissioner - but assessments are that Budapest will do everything it can to prevent such an outcome, as it would otherwise accept that it had made a serious mistake.
Opponents of Trocsanyi's appointment as commissioner are making strong objections directed at EC President Ursula von der Leyen, claiming that she helped EU-skeptic governments in the East of the bloc, which provided valuable support to her as she was elected to head the Commission.
To back up this claim, it is mentioned critically that Leyen's named one department , "the defense of our European way of life." This is considered a concession to the forces suspicious towards the strengthening the Union and, in particular, incompatible with the item "migration" as an integral part of that department.
It is also claimed that the government of Viktor Orban could, if Trocsanyi does not pass a hearing in the European Parliament, possibly offer a new candidate.
Possible replacements include the Hungarian minister for the EU, and influential member of the Orban's Fidesz party and MEP Tamas Deutsch, who has said that "Trocsanyi's remarkable career makes him a fully valid candidate for commissioner."
Diplomatic officials in the EU with knowledge in the matter say it should be waited until Trocsanyi explains his program to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on October 1, and stress that his experience as a minister of justice, a judge in the constitutional court and a lawyer should not be underestimated.
Trocsanyi, from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, will, as Orban himself has said, face serious criticism but also possible support from parties to the right of the center and MPs from eastern EU members.
The main objection, especially from the ranks of socialists and parties to the left of the center in the EU, is that Trocsanyi was the justice minister at a time when laws were passed in Hungary that the European Commission and the Council of Ministers said violated the fundamental values and provisions of the EU on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
That is why the EC initiated criminal proceedings against Budapest, and with the same reasoning, against Poland, in accordance with Article 7 of the Union's basic act, the Lisbon Treaty.
It is believed that for the same reasons, the Polish candidate for agriculture commissioner will also face serious opposition in the EP.
The EC president says that she appointed Trocsanyi as enlargement commissioner because Hungary, as well as she as the EC head, believe that for security, geopolitical, economic and reasons of foreign influence not prevailing there, the Western Balkans should be as close as possible to the Union.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, moreover, said that there was a great deal of hypocrisy in the EU when it came to the political will to accept the Western Balkans, because, he said, his "colleagues from the western states of the Union are in words in favor of the entry of new members from the Western Balkans, but when devicions are made they are against."
EC President von der Leyen's guidelines for Trocsanyi's department stressed that the goal was offering "a credible prospect for the Western Balkans to enter the EU" while the priority was to "support and accelerate this progress over the next five years, based on an assessment of the merits of each candidate country."
The new commissioner must work, the EC head emphasized, on "accelerating structural and institutional reforms in the region, fostering economic development and restructuring the state administration", while fighting corruption and resolving disputes bilaterally.