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Moscovici ordered to submit written answers over EU economy commissioner job

media Pierre Moscovici faces questions on his role as European Union economy commissioner Reuters/François Lenoir

France’s former budget minister Pierre Moscovici has been ordered to submit written answers to Euro-MP’s questions after failing to convince opponents when he was questioned at the European parliament over his nomination as the EU’s next economic affairs commissioner.

After a tough three-hour hearing on Thursday, the parliament’s economic affairs committee has told Moscovici to give written answers to yet more questions by the beginning of next week, sources told journalists.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Right-wing MEPs claim he may be soft on France, which failed to reach its budget deficit targets while he was in charge and is asking for an extension of the deadline, and feel that his record undermines his credibility in upholding the EU's budget rules.

The former French budget minister is seeking to take over the job from Finn Olli Rehn, who defended tight budgets and tough reforms and enjoyed the firm backing of Germany.

Moscovici insisted that as a commissioner he would ensure that the rules were respected by other EU countries and procedures followed.

"Whichever country is in debt has to respect rules,” he said. “If a country doesn’t take effective action as per the treaties, doesn't make the structural efforts, then in that case there is no doubt, no hesitation, no choice that the procedure must to be followed. I will be, and I repeat, a European commissioner and not a French finance minister, which I haven’t been for six months. This European commissioner will do his work and his duty."

The European parliament cannot prevent the appointment of individual commissioners but can vote against the whole commission, which is due to be sworn in on 22 October.

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