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Start of new European Commission likely delayed to Dec. 1 - EU officials

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By Reuters
Start of new European Commission likely delayed to Dec. 1 - EU officials
FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner-designate for a Stronger Europe in the World Josep Borrell Fontelles of Spain gestures during his hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman   -   Copyright  YVES HERMAN(Reuters)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The launch of the new European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is likely to be delayed by a month because the European Parliament has rejected three candidates proposed by EU governments for commissioners, several EU officials said on Monday.

Josep Borrell, the incoming EU foreign affairs chief, told reporters in Luxembourg it was “reasonable” to expect a delay of the start of the new Commission of Ursula von der Leyen until Dec. 1 from the original date of Nov. 1.

The delay is to give the governments of Hungary, Romania and France time to propose new candidates for commissioners after their initial choices failed to pass European Parliament hearings.

“The schedule of when exactly the new Commission can be in place is in the hands of the three governments and the European Parliament,” one EU official said.

A likely date for a parliamentary vote approving the Commission as a whole was a plenary session in Strasbourg on Nov. 28, the official said.

Delays of in the new Commission taking office are not unusual. The EU executive headed by Jose Manuel Barroso had a three week delay in 2004 because the parliament rejected the Italian Rocco Buttiglione for commissioner.

The second Barroso commission started even later, only in February 2010, because of the time needed to organise a parliamentary hearing for Kristalina Georgieva who replaced the also rejected Bulgarian candidate Rumiana Jeleva.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski, Robin Emmott and Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Grant McCool)