Tag Archives: Barroso II

Barroso II Commission is Elected

The European Parliament elected the new European Commission by 488 votes in favour, 137 against and 72 abstentions in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

Georgieva was Impeccable

I just watched the hearing of the new Bulgarian commissioner-designate, Kristalina Georgieva.

She was impeccable.

Hearing of Kristalina Georgieva – Live

You can watch here the hearing of the new Bulgarian commissioner designate for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva.

The hearing will start at 12:30 Brussels time (13:30 Bulgarian time).

Commission Approval Vote Rescheduled?

The vote for approval of the whole college of commissioners will probably be postponed for 9 February. The new Bulgarian commissioner designate, Kristalina Georgieva, will likely be heard in the European Parliament on 3 February.

Meanwhile the second hearing on Neelie Kroes -commissioner-designate for the Digital Agenda, has gone well. This means that probably the only replacement will be the Bulgarian Georgieva, and the Barroso II team will be approved.

The former commissioner designate, Mrs. Jeleva, will step down from her position as Bulgarian minister of foreign affairs.

Why Jeleva?

We now have the statement by Mr. Barroso and by the legal services of the European Parliament on the supposed conflict of interests of the Bulgarian commissioner designate, Rumiana Jeleva. As I have promised, now I should deliver my own opinion on her candidature.

This is a difficult task since Mrs. Jeleva is a colleague – a lecturer at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. But my purpose in this blog has always been to honestly monitor the Bulgarian participation in European affairs, and this case simply cannot be overlooked.

So the question stands – why Jeleva? Why her of all people? I do not have any idea. In fact, I have not heard of any substantial justification of her candidature. Once the scandal broke out there were some quite unclear statements by the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr. Boyko Borisov, saying that she is intelligent, competent, etc. But nobody actually assessed in public her personal qualities that matter for the job. That is why it was so difficult for me to evaluate her chances to get a serious portfolio – such as energy or the enlargement.

Later there were rumors. Mr. Borisov and other party officials at GERB – the ruling party, say that they knew early on about the staging of a campaign in the European Parliament against Mrs. Jeleva. This is very, very strange. If the Bulgarian officials knew about the pending disaster, why didn’t they prevent it??? So why choose Jeleva after all?

There is more. Let’s not forget where Bulgaria stands in the European Union. We are constantly associated with one word only in Brussels – and that is corruption. We are still aiming at entering Schengen area and the eurozone. We are trying to convince the European Commission that we can manage and control EU funds efficiently and transparently. Even one new speck on the tarnished image of Bulgaria can be overwhelming. What we got instead was some really, really bad coverage (see Economist’s Charlemagne, FT’s Tony Barber and Liberation’s Jean Quatremer among others).

The Jeleva affair may be treated as a sign of the times, given the greater powers of the European Parliament after the Treaty of Lisbon. But shouldn’t we be all the more careful keeping in mind the stronger position of the Parliament? How is Mrs. Jeleva supposed to work with the MEPs when many claim she is unacceptable?

Today may be the decisive moment for Mrs. Jeleva. She may or may not become a commissioner. But I demand a clear answer to one question only – why was Mrs. Rumiana Jeleva proposed as a Bulgarian candidate for commissioner?

Approval Vote Can Be Postponed over Jeleva?

Euractiv reports that according to a source in the group of the Alliance for the Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament has said that if Bulgarian commissioner designate Rumiana Jeleva were to seem problematic following the hearings, a decision would be taken to postpone the vote on the whole Barroso II team, scheduled for 26 January. Instead of risking voting out the entire EU executive over one candidate, changes would be made, the source said.

The spokesman of the European People’s Party, Antoine Ripoll, says that “the policy of the new [Bulgarian] government against corruption is pretty drastic (…) this creates reactions, and one should seek there the explanations for those attacks.”

Portfolio Distribution for Barroso II Commission

We now have the distribution of portfolios in the new college of commissioners. Three new portfolios are created: Climate Action; Home Affairs; Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

Joaquín Almunia will be Vice-President of the Commission together with Siim Kallas, Neelie Kroes, Viviane Reding, Maroš Šefcovic and Catherine Ashton.

The Bulgarian commissioner Rumiana Jeleva will be responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.