Tuesday

23rd Oct 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Magazine

'Integration' - the missing factor in new EU migration fund

An estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees in the EU are unemployed - despite this, the integration of asylum seekers and migration remains outside the European Commission's policy objectives in its latest budget proposals for regional development and cohesion policy.

News in Brief

  1. EU commission sends back Italy's budget plan
  2. French CEO attends Saudi forum despite journalist murder
  3. Sacked Polish judges urged to return to work
  4. Italy's budget defence arrived in Brussels
  5. EU warns of nuclear race as US pulls out of treaty
  6. Spain and Sweden not stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia
  7. Piedmont and Copenhagen named top tourist destinations
  8. Bayer to compensate for carcinogenic weed killer

Magazine

'Integration' - the missing factor in new EU migration fund

An estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees in the EU are unemployed - despite this, the integration of asylum seekers and migration remains outside the European Commission's policy objectives in its latest budget proposals for regional development and cohesion policy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. EU commission rejects Italy's budget plans
  2. Poland's liberal prodigy to take on EU populists
  3. Italy's M5S to unveil new EU group in January
  4. Cities are frontrunners in fight for social rights for all
  5. 'Integration' - the missing factor in new EU migration fund
  6. Unelected EU parliament official blocks release of #Metoo papers
  7. 'The kids aren't alt-right'
  8. Lone Merkel declares Saudi arms ban

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us