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Frenchman 'snubbed for top EU finance job'

Ben McPartland · 4 Sep 2014, 11:34

Published: 04 Sep 2014 11:34 GMT+02:00

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The website Euractiv claimed on Thursday to have got hold of a leaked document which suggests Pierre Moscovici has failed to land the role of EU commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Moscovici, who was booted out of France’s top finance job in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this year, had seemed a certain bet to land the job.

But a leaked document detailing the make-up of President-elect Claude Juncker’s team suggests Mosocovici has been snubbed and the role will be given to Finland’s Jyrki Katainen, who already holds the position after taking it over from Olli Rehn.

According to the document, which Euractiv points out is not a final version, Moscovici will instead be handed the Competition portfolio.

Throughout the summer there were reports in France and Germany that Angela Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble were not keen on Moscovici being given a role that allows him to evaluate and sanction member states’ budgets and reforms, given the fact that France has been unable to meet EU deficit targets.

“If we name the ex-French minister for finance to be the commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, who did nothing to enforce the stability pact, it like trying to hunt for the devil using Beelzebub,” German MP Norbert Bathle, from Merkel’s CDU party, told the newspaper Handelsblatt in July.

Germany has long been irritated by France’s inability to respect an EU set target that forced France it to bring its deficit down to below the threshold of 3 percent of its GDP.

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The European Union in June last year agreed to give France an extra two years, until 2015, to bring its deficit under the EU-agreed ceiling.

Juncker is to officially unveil his team of new commissioners next week, so Moscovici won't have long to sweat until he finds out whether he really has been snubbed.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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