Bulgaria’s caretaker government has not discussed specific names of possible nominees to be the country’s next European Commissioner, Deputy Prime Minister Denitsa Zlateva said on March 14.
Bulgaria currently does not have a representative on the European Commission, after the resignation from the commission of Kristalina Georgieva as of January 1.
With Bulgaria heading to early parliamentary elections on March 26, caretaker Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov has said that the government would not now nominate a commissioner, although he has indicated it may do so if forming an elected government takes time. Separately, Gerdzhikov has said that the candidate would be a woman.
Zlateva, responding to reports that the nominee would be Meglena Plougchieva, current Bulgaria’s ambassador to Switzerland, said that no names were being discussed because the matter was not currently on the agenda of the caretaker cabinet.
Before Bulgaria joined the EU on January 1 2007, Plougchieva’s name was mentioned in speculation in 2006 about who the country’s first European Commissioner would be.
Ploughchieva was Bulgaria’s ambassador to Germany from 2004 to 2008, when she became deputy prime minister in charge of EU funds, in Sergei Stanishev’s Bulgarian Socialist Party-led tripartite coalition government. In 2010, she became a candidate for an EBRD vice-presidency with the support of then-prime minister Boiko Borissov. Plougchieva became ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2012.
Another name that has been mentioned is that of Gergana Passi, twice a deputy foreign minister – in 2004/05 and 2005/07 and Bulgaria’s European Affairs Minister from 2007 to 2009. This past weekened, Passi denied that she was a candidate for the European Commission post.
Meglena Kouneva, the former European Affairs Minister who was Bulgaria’s first European Commissioner from 2007 and who most recently was a deputy prime minister in the second Borissov government, said on March 6 that the question of whether she would accept a nomination to be Bulgaria’s next Commissioner was not currently before her.
Kouneva, who is not standing in the March 26 parliamentary elections, said that it was “not normal” for Bulgaria to go so long without a European Commissioner.
(Screenshot of Zlateva via BNT)