October 14, 2019 / 7:13 AM / a month ago

French Finance Minister: not candidate to be Macron's new choice for EU post

FILE PHOTO: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire delivers a speech at the MEDEF union summer forum renamed La Rencontre des Entrepreneurs de France, LaREF, at the Paris Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that he was not a candidate to replace Sylvie Goulard as French president Emmanuel Macron’s choice for European Commissioner.

“I am not a candidate for the European Commission,” he told France Info radio.

“I prefer to stay as the Finance Minister,” he added.

Last week, EU lawmakers rejected Goulard, who was Macron’s choice to head up industrial policy in the next European Commission.

Goulard’s candidacy had been hit by her implication in a jobs scandal, in which she denies any wrongdoing, and her past work as an adviser for a U.S. think-tank which paid her more than 10,000 euros ($11,020) a month. Goulard’s rejection was criticized by Macron.

The spat over Goulard’s rejection could potentially delay the start of the new Commission, which is due to take office on Nov. 1, and curb the influence of France, the European Union’s second biggest economy and a founding member of the club.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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