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The Brief: EU Parliament rejects two candidates

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The Brief: EU Parliament rejects two candidates
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Two candidates have been blocked during the first screening of the European Parliament.

The Hungarian, Laszlo Trocsanyi from the Popular group and the Romanian, Rovana Plumb from the Socialist group.

The Committee of Legal Affairs of the European Parliament has voted against them, claiming there is conflict of interests.

Trocsanyi left the committee saying that he has a clean conscience, but the MEPs were not satisfied with his explanations about his role at a lawyer firm.

Plumb declared that she had nothing to hide, but was unable to reassure MEPs about two loans she had taken.

"At this point what we are saying is that there is a conflict of interest, so we cannot validate. This is our role. We cannot validate the nomination of two commissioners," French MEP Manon Aubry explained.

This means that both candidates will not even reach the next step: the hearings where they have to be examined about their competences.

For the political party ruling in Hungary, this is a political persecution.

"We see here a political witch hunt and we will deal with this according to that. We are parts of a conceptual procedure with a verdict written in advance - this reminds to the worst communists times," Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer said.

Now, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen will have decide how to move forward. The next step could be to ask Budapest and Bucharest to send new candidates.

And other news in brief...

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is opening a brand new coal mine.

It will be the first in the country since 1994.

Some EU leaders say it's a step back from their vision of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants a minimum carbon price across the EU. But Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia are trying to block efforts to make the whole EU commit to the carbon neutrality goal.

Poland wants EU funding to help with the transition.

"It is very easy for countries that already have low emission to be ambitious and to set up the targets. But not everybody starts from the same point and Poland was using coal for many years and it's still 80 percent of the energy comes from coal in Poland," Deputy Secretary General at Euracoal Magdalena Chawuła-Kosuri explained.

Incoming President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has promised that there will be a new Green Deal for Europe.

But that's likely to lead to frequent spats over coal between Brussels and Warsaw.