European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker began interviewing candidate European Commissioners on September 1 ahead of a final decision on allocating portfolios.
EU law requires that commissioners be chosen “on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt”.
The interview process follows the August 30 decision by EU leaders to name Polish prime minister Donald Tusk as the next European Council President and Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini as Catherine Ashton’s successor in the bloc’s foreign policy chief post.
A European Commission statement said that Juncker already had interviewed Mogherini before agreeing to her August 30 appointment.
Like all other commissioners-designate, Mogherini will face a hearing in the European Parliament before it votes on the next European Commission as a whole.
The Commission statement said that the timing of Juncker formally submitting the list of commissioner-designate to the Council of the European Union would depend on him receiving candidates from all 28 EU countries. Belgium has yet to nominate a candidate.
Following agreement between the Council of the EU and Juncker on the list, he will announce the commissioner-designates’ portfolios. This is seen as unlikely to happen before September 10.
It remains to be seen which portfolio will go to Bulgaria’s incumbent European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, passed over for the EU foreign policy chief job when it went to Mogherini, a socialist, as part of a deal on political balance among the EU’s top posts.
Speaking after the European Council special meeting on August 30, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said that Georgieva “enjoys a perfect and flawless reputation and this fact will help our country defend a very serious and high position in the next European Commission”.
Plevneliev said that he had held intensive talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel, with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and others so that conditions can be created to ensure that the Bulgarian nomination attracts diplomatic and institutional support.
“Although I would currently not like to go into details, I am adamant that Bulgaria will be given control of a strong economic sector and will gain a high and serious position in the European Commission,” Plevneliev said.
He said that Georgieva’s nomination would surely be successful because she is “an extraordinary European and a leader enjoying world-wide reputation.” “This will be success not only for her, but also for the Bulgarian diplomacy and institutions, which have had the ambition to strive for the highest achievements,” Plevneliev said.
(Photo of Juncker: EC Audiovisual Service)