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France's Sylvie Goulard rejected by members of European parliament

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France's Sylvie Goulard rejected by members of European parliament
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REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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France's pick for the European Commission, Sylvie Goulard, has been rejected by the European Parliament.

Sylvie Goulard was France's choice to be the next head of European Union industrial policy.

Goulard was the victim of a "political game", the French president's office said shortly after her rejection was announced on Thursday (October 10). President Macron will discuss the matter with incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, his office added.

Sylvie Goulard has previously denied wrongdoing during her time as an EU lawmaker but faced a hostile reception in confirmation hearings at the European Parliament.

On October 2, she was questioned about a fictional jobs scandal at the European Parliament and about taking high-paid work as an adviser for a U.S. think-tank.

Goulard told the European Parliament she was "clean", that the funds had been repaid and that she considered the affair a "human resources" issue rather than a legal one.

Following French President Emmanuel Macron's 2017 election victory, Goulard was appointed defence minister but resigned barely a month into the job amid an investigation into the way her political party, MoDem, hired assistants in the European assembly.

Goulard's rejection as EU Commissioner is an astounding defeat for French president Macron, who picked her as France's EU representative, and for incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Her picks for the EU executive have faced unprecedented resistance from the assembly in hearings this month.

The assembly has already rejected candidates from Hungary and Romania, citing financial irregularities, while her pick's from Poland and Sweden failed to convince lawmakers on Tuesday (October 1) and may face a second round of questioning.