MEPs reject Hungary's Navracsics for top EU culture job

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Tibor Navracsics, commissioner-designateImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Tibor Navracsics was linked to controversial policies in Hungary

The European Parliament has rejected Hungary's EU commissioner-designate as unsuitable for the education and culture post.

Tibor Navracsics could still be given a different role in the new European Commission team, MEPs said.

He is the first candidate to be rejected at the hearings, though MEPs have blocked appointments in the past.

He has been in a right-wing government criticised in the EU for allegedly undermining civil liberties.

The vote in the parliament's education and culture committee went 14-12 against him.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban amended constitutional reforms after sharp criticism from the outgoing European Commission and MEPs. There were fears that changes to the judiciary, media and minority rights would hand too much power to his ruling Fidesz party.

The new Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, may have to reshuffle his new team in order to get MEPs' approval. The parliament is set to vote on the whole team on 22 October.

The French nominee Pierre Moscovici, the UK's Jonathan Hill and Spain's Miguel Arias Canete have also been grilled by MEPs who doubt their suitability for their designated posts - economic affairs, financial services and climate and environment, respectively.