Saturday

17th Apr 2021

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

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

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.

Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line

Ukraine has invited EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell to visit its front line with Russia, in what one EU diplomat said would be his "best revenge" for his recent humiliation in Moscow.

Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman

The controversial Constitutional Tribunal ruled that legislation, setting out that the ombudsman stays in office until lawmakers pick a new one, was unconstitutional.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us