The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Rejects S&D "Pressure" on Commission Nomination



Cerar's office announced that the government will put forward a new nominee to replace ex-PM Alenka Bratušek, who withdrew her bid to fill Slovenia's seat in the European Commission on Thursday, a day after being rejected by relevant committees of the European Parliament.

In a statement, the office also denounced what it deemed to be an ultimatum from the S&D group in the European Parliament for Fajon to be the Slovenian candidate.

The prime minister rejects such ultimatums and would like to highlight that in line with the Lisbon Treaty, the commissioner candidates are put forward by the member states, which means that a new candidate can be only proposed by the new Slovenian government, the office said.

"By no means do political groups in the European Parliament have this power," said Cerar in a response to comments made by representatives of the S&D today.

The second biggest group in the European Parliament had earlier called on European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker to put forward Fajon in place of Bratušek.

The two-term Slovenian MEP had been included in a list of three candidates along with Bratušek sent by the previous government to Juncker in August.

Reports from Brussels suggested that the S&D had reached agreement with the biggest political grouping in parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), to back Fajon.

"The prime minister expects that the political groups in the European Parliament will respect the EU legal order and the basic principles of democracy in the selection of commissioner candidates," Cerar's office said.

It added that trying to take away the right of the biggest government party to have a say in selecting a new candidate would be "undemocratic and contrary to all the rules in the EU".

The leader of Social Democrats (SD) Dejan Židan meanwhile defended Fajon as the best candidate, and warned Cerar against a majority vote in the government. "This does not usually end well," he told reporters in the evening.

While he promised the party would not give ultimatums, it will make proposals "and our proposal is that Tanja Fajon remains our candidate." Not only is she competent, she also "enjoys the support of the biggest factions in the European Parliament."

At the same time, he urged all parties to "backtrack from the partisan arithmetic" and pick the candidate "that has maximum support in European institutions."


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