Who are Ursula Von de Leyen's new picks for Romania, France and Hungary?

EU Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen holds a speech on the present situation in Europe, in Berlin, Germany November 8, 2019.
EU Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen holds a speech on the present situation in Europe, in Berlin, Germany November 8, 2019. Copyright REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
By Euronews
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The new European Commission president's nominees for Hungary, France and Romania have now been approved.


Ursula Von de Leyen faces a final vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, after replacement picks for Hungary, Romania and France were approved by the European Commission. 

Her previous picks for the three countries - France's Sylvie Goulard, Hungary's Laszlo Trocsanyi and Romania's Rovana Plumb - were rejected by MEPs in recent weeks. 

But who were their replacements? Euronews takes a look. 

The new recruits


Hungary's Oliver Varhelyi is set to be the next EU enlargement commissioner.

He did what he had to do at his hearing and distanced himself from the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and promise to represent only the interests of the EU. 

"We need to continue spreading democracy, prosperity and rule of law at the heart of our continent, the Western Balkans. It is their interest, it is our interest," he told MEPs.

Varhelyi was Hungary's EU ambassador and is seen as a technocrat, not a political nominee.

"He answered in a calm way to these questions so I can say that during this hearing his answers were profound and and professionally in a very good quality," Kinga Gál, Hungarian MEP.

MEPs on the left think he needs to distance himself from his country and its leader.

"This made us insecure about what we should think of him. Yesterday we had a more positive picture about him, he seemed to distance himself from Orban. But not we are not sure in this," Attila Ara-Kovacs, a Hungarian MEP, told our reporter.

Oliver Varhelyi is Hungary's second choice to the next EU commissioner.

The former justice minister Laszlo TRocsanyi was rejected by MEPs due to conflicts of interest.


Adina-Ioana Vălean is set to be the next EU Commissioner for Transport.

The Romanian Christian Democrat is a veteran member of the European Parliament where she served since 2007, most recently as chairwoman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

During her hearing on Thursday she strongly backed Ursula von der Leyens push toward a Green Deal, stressing the importance of environmentally-friendly transport.

"A European Green Deal must insure that Europeans are able to enjoy affordable access to sustainable and smart mobility. The greening of mobility must serve our citizens, businesses and economy in the best way possible," Vălean told


Vălean was on a short list of substitute candidates put forward by Romania's new government, after Bucarest's initial nominee was rejected by the European Parliament.

She was then chosen by von der Leyen.


Even if the personality changes the portfolio remains the same. Thierry Breton is the second French candidate to occupy the seat of Commissioner in charge of the Internal Market. The sober title hides a vast political field since the former head of enterprise will also oversee industry, digital as well as defense policy and space. Thierry Breton wanted to clear any risk of conflict of interest.

"There is only one solution to be radical, I say radical, always with the sole general interest in mind, exclusively, only, in all independence, so I appear before you today without any further patrimonial interest. No business, that means very precisely that I sold all the shares that I owned before selling to you, and I also resign from all my mandates, I say all," he told MEPs.


Thierry Breton clarified the outlines of his action if he is confirmed as Commissioner. The Frenchman is certain that the European Union has the means to play in international competition.

"We have not lost the battle, there is a lot of technology where we are today in a leadership position, and I know in particular that everything that will concern green technologies Europe is going to be, is already and is going to be the first technological continent of the world, I am convinced of it," Breton explained.

Much was expected from the Frenchman regarding his ethics. It was on this issue that the previous French candidate, Sylvie Goulard, had stumbled.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Romanian civil society has proved its strength. Now it can help nurture a fragile democracy ǀ View

EU and UK make significant progress on broad Gibraltar policy lines

State of the Union: Decisions on climate, transparency and migration