EC President-elect Ursula von der Leyen (photo: Olaf Kosinsky / Wikipedia)

The French businessman and Hungarian diplomat must still be approved by MEPs, while the Romanian nomination remains vacant because of a change of government in Bucharest, noted the report.

Hungary proposed Várhelyi as its commissioner after Prime Minister Viktor Orbánʼs first choice, former justice minister László Trócsányi, was vetoed. Trócsányi was a key figure behind Hungarian laws that Brussels sees as undermining the rule of law in Hungary.

The Romanian nomination process has been delayed after its government was toppled by a vote of no-confidence on October 10. Bucharest had been about to propose a replacement for Rovana Plumb, who was quickly rejected by MEPs.

A spokeswoman for the EUʼs executive body said at a press briefing on Tuesday that von der Leyen had “confirmed the abilities and competencies” of Várhelyi and Breton after formal interviews on Monday. She added that the president-elect had then informed the Council of her decision, clearing the way for the approval process by the European Parliament.

The spokeswoman did not specify the portfolio Várhelyi could take over (previously, Trócsányi had been lined up to assume the EU neighborhood policy and enlargement portfolio).

The Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament earlier rejected Trócsányi on the grounds that there were conflicts of interest between his earlier post as justice minister and the activities of legal firm Nagy és Trócsányi, state news wire MTI recalled. MEPs had also cited concerns about Trócsányiʼs connections to Russia in rejecting the Hungarian nominee.