Just caught a glimpse of a bunch of reporters asking an ex Romanian Minister (Dan Nica) a few questions related to nomination as EU Commissioners.

Besides a few questions related to an old corruption case during his period as a Minister, a journalists said something along the line: "your biggest defect is that you are not a woman" and everybody smiled.

How do we got here

A few months ago Ursula von der Leyen says her new cabinet of EU Commissioners will be half women and asked EU member states to nominate two people, a man and woman, as their candidates to be their EU Commissioners to ensure the posts can be divided up equally between genders.

Romania fulfilled her wish and nominated a woman and a man (Rovana Plump and Dan Nica). However, due to some issues Rovana Plumb's candidacy as European Commissioner for Transport is rejected by the EP Legal Affairs Committee.

Also, some journalists claim that Ursula von der Leyen conveyed the message that she would prefer that a woman comes from Romania [citation needed].

So, it seems that Romania has only a male candidate while the future European Commission president would prefer a women. I am wondering if this mismatch can be used as a reason to reject a candidate.

Question: Can the European Commission president reject a candidate because of his/her gender not matching the global division between genders?

  • 6
    Probably von der Leyen could refuse to hand the complete group to Parliament for a vote (the Parliament votes on the Commission team en block) but it will probably be handled in a very Brussels way through negotiations and diplomacy so we will never actually see the outcome. That’s just my two cents of unsourced opinion, hoping for actual proper answers!
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 7:52
  • It's the higher echelons of the EU. They can do whatever they can get away with politically
    – user19831
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 20:15
  • By nominating a weak woman candidate (deliberately or not), Romania hasn't really “fulfilled her wish”. At this point, her hands are tied and it add another constraints, not only for the Commission president but for other member states as well. To be able to pick freely, she needs two viable candidates, it's perfectly logical to insist on Romania providing another woman candidate quite apart from any judgment on Dan Nica.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


The president doesn't formally reject any candidate, there is no hearing or votes like in the European Parliament. The president doesn't name Commissioners either, s/he just gives them a portfolio. But it's a negotiation so the president (and/or other heads of state) can certainly privately express their opposition to a candidate for any and all reasons.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .