Media: EP Legal Affairs Committee rejects Romania’s candidate for commissioner, a first in EU history
The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) decided on Thursday to send a letter to the European Commission (EC) informing it that Romanian MEP Rovana Plumb can’t be appointed European Commissioner because of a conflict of interests, official sources told local G4media.ro.
Rovana Plumb borrowed RON 800,000 (EUR 170,000) from another person (Elena Loghin), which she gave to her party – the Social Democratic Party (PSD) for financing the campaign for the European elections. The Committee decided that due to this conflict of interest, Rovana Plumb can’t take over as European Commissioner for Transport and asked the new president of the European Commission to come up with a solution, as this is the first time when such a situation appears, according to G4media.ro.
The Legal Affairs Committee took this decision after hearing Rovana Plumb for the second time on Thursday. The committee called for this second hearing to clarify the inconsistencies in Plumb’s wealth statements submitted in Romania and Brussels.
Of the 23 members of the committee that attended the hearing, 15 voted against Rovana Plumb’s appointment as commissioner, 6 voted in her favor and 2 abstained.
Apparently, the moment that tipped the vote against Rovana Plumb was when the committee asked her what she would do after the Romanian Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) decided not to reimburse PSD's expenses in the campaign for the European elections worth RON 3.4 million, which means that Plumb will lose the RON 800,000 she borrowed to the party. Rovana Plumb reportedly said she didn't know about the AEP's decision which the committee members didn't believe, Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan told G4media.ro.
Rovana Plumb, a former environment minister, was one of the two candidates supported by the Romanian Government for the European Commissioner post in the team of Ursula van der Leyen, the other one being MEP Dan Nica. MEPs representing Romanian opposition parties criticized the two nominations due to the legal problems both Plumb and Nica had in the past. A couple of years ago, Rovana Plumb was targeted by a corruption investigation related to the illegal privatization of an island on the Danube, which ended up being controlled by a construction company associated with former PSD leader Liviu Dragnea (the Belina case). However, the Parliament voted against the prosecutors' request to allow them to pursue the investigation against Plumb.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)