Friday

24th Feb 2017

EU commission vote delayed as Bulgarian nominee steps down

  • Ms Georgieva: the EU's new humanitarian aid commissioner? (Photo: president.tatar.ru)

Following days of questions over her financial interests and her competence to be the EU's aid commissioner, Bulgaria's Rumiana Jeleva on Tuesday (19 January) stepped aside as her country's nominee in a move that is to delay the installation of the new commission for several weeks.

Ms Jeleva announced her resignation in a letter sent to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and Joseph Daul, the leader of the centre-right EPP, her political family.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The page long letter, bitter in tone, complains about a three month campaign seeking to "fully discredit" her, meaning she feared she would not be treated objectively when MEPs in the development committee were due to take their decision on her late on Wednesday.

Mr Daul said he was "very sorry" to hear of her decision and called her the "victim of a rather contemptible little squabble."

Mr Barroso said he "took note" of Ms Jeleva's withdrawal and welcomed the "swift reaction of the Bulgarian government to this situation."

Sofia plans to send Kristalina Georgieva, currently a vice-president of the World Bank, as its replacement candidate.

The Socialist group, which had originally gone after Ms Jeleva on financial interest questions and then on her suitability for the post, said her resignation was "inevitable and predictable."

"Her decision to go is the best outcome for everyone, including herself," said the group's leader Martin Schulz.

The Jeleva machinations mean the parliamentary vote on the entire commission, due next week on 26 January, will be delayed. It is now to take place on 9 February, parliament chief Jerzy Buzek said.

"Next week we won't have a vote on the commission," said Mr Daul, adding that as all the other commission nominees had six weeks to prepare for their hearings, "the new candidate should be given at least a couple of weeks." The new Bulgarian nominee is expected to be grilled by MEPs on 3 February.

Having come under attack for playing tit-for-tat politics when the EPP went after Slovak socialist nominee Maros Sefcovic in the wake of the Jeleva kerfuffle, Mr Daul said "don't expect any blood on the carpet. We are a responsible group."

He went on to berate Catherine Ashton, the socialist EU foreign policy chief, for not travelling to the devastated earthquake-struck Haiti over the weekend, however.

Meanwhile, Jozsef Szajer, a Hungarian MEP overseeing the hearings process for the EPP group, highlighted Olli Rehn (a Liberal nominee), Neelie Kroes (a Liberal) and Maria Damanaki (a socialist) for being unimpressive in their cross-examinations.

Rumiana Jeleva's resignation letter

The full text of the Rumiana Jeleva resignation letter, in an unofficial translation from Bulgarian into English by EUobserver.

Opinion

The crisis we face in the Lake Chad Basin

With no end in sight to this crisis, humanitarian actors must call for concerted engagement of political, developmental and security actors to help stabilise the region, writes the head of the UN migration agency.

Le Pen wants to 'do away' with the EU

The far-right presidential candidate said that she would create a "Europe of free nations", while taking France out of Nato command and "tie up" Russia to Europe.

Feature

Armenia-Azerbaijan war: Line of contact

“Frontline coffee is the best coffee in the world”, an Armenian lieutenant told EUobserver, with soldiers' morale among their strongest weapons in the war against an oil-rich foe.

Juncker envisages EU of core groups

Commission head Juncker say EU states which want deeper integration should press ahead in core groups, in reaction to the UK’s departure.

Le Pen wants to 'do away' with the EU

The far-right presidential candidate said that she would create a "Europe of free nations", while taking France out of Nato command and "tie up" Russia to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations