Thursday

26th May 2022

Slovenia nominates unconventional candidate for EU commission post

  • Violeta Bulc is an unconventional business person, who trained as a shaman and fire-walker (Photo: TEDx Ljubljana)

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar on Friday (10 October) nominated political novice Violeta Bulc as EU commissioner, despite warnings from the European Parliament to send someone experienced in order to avoid a second rejection.

Bulc, an unconventional businesswoman who also trained as a shaman and fire-walker, switched to politics less than a month ago, when she was appointed minister without portfolio responsible for development, strategic projects, and cohesion.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Bulc's nomination comes after the two largest groups in the European Parliament asked for an "experienced candidate" in order to avoid a second rejection after the weak performance of the initial Slovenian candidate, Alenka Bratusek.

They tried to push for Socialist MEP Tanja Fajon to be appointed, but this irritated Ljubljana which considered the deputies to be interfering in a domestic decision.

"The prime minister expects that the political groups in the European Parliament will respect the EU legal order and the basic principles of democracy in the selection of commissioner candidates," his office said in a written statement.

Cerar is himself a new face on the Slovenian political scene, having formed his own party just this summer.

It is not yet affiliated with any EU political family, but is likely to join the EU Liberals.

Cerar had never endorsed Bratusek, also a Liberal but from a different party, who appointed herself as commission nominee while she was still in office.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Socialist group in the European Parliament told this website that Bulc will fail her hearing "only if her performance is worse than Bratusek’s”.

"We only expressed our suggestion for Fajon, because she was on the initial shortlist sent to Juncker and because she is a talented and experienced MEP," Socialist spokesman Jan Bernas said.

He said the hearing - likely to be organised next week - will be "tough and fair, as it was for all candidates. We don't prejudge and there is no need to escalate this diplomatic crisis between Ljubljana and the EP."

Bulc is set to meet EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.

Bratusek was meant to be vice-president of the commission in charge of energy union. But it is not clear whether the portfolio will remain the same for Bulc.

"Mr Juncker does not know her yet. He will decide on her portfolio after they meet," Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Friday in a press conference.

Schinas said the "risk still exists" that the Juncker commission is delayed, as there will be only one week left to hold hearings on possible portfolio swaps if Bulc does not get energy union.

The European Parliament was supposed to vote on the entire Juncker team on 22 October in order for the new commission to take office on 1 November.

Slovene commission nominee to be sent home

MEPs are Wednesday to decide on the five commissioners who failed to get the green light after parliamentary hearings, with the Slovene nominee set for the axe.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us