Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva quits European Commission to become World Bank CEO

Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva has resigned from the European Commission and will become World Bank chief executive from January 2 2017, the European Commission announced on October 28.

Georgieva was in her second term at the European Commission, as vice-president in charge of the EU budget and human resources, after a first term in the Barosso Commission as commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response.

The announcement came after, on October 5, Georgieva’s nomination as Bulgaria’s candidate to be the next UN Secretary-General was defeated in a Security Council vote.

European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that he had accepted Georgieva’s resignation from the Commission “with great regret”.

“The fact that she has been asked to take a leading role in the World Bank is an acknowledgment and recognition of Kristalina Georgieva’s many talents and her professionalism,” said Juncker, who said that Georgieva would be “greatly missed”.

Georgieva worked for the World Bank in various capacities from 1993 and was one of its vice-presidents from 2008 to 2010, when she was nominated by Bulgaria to serve as its European Commissioner, after the failed candidacy of Roumyana Zheleva.

Juncker said that he had asked Günther Oettinger, Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy and Society, to succeed Georgieva in her portfolio. After the current Vice-Presidents, Oettinger is the first commissioner in seniority and protocol order in the Commission.

Juncker said that he stood ready to “discuss swiftly” with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov potential names for a new commissioner of Bulgarian nationality as well as the allocation of a possible portfolio.

A name mentioned for several months in speculation about a possible successor to Georgieva at the European Commission is that of Bulgaria’s current head of state, President Rossen Plevneliev. His name was mentioned at the time that Georgieva was emerging as Bulgaria’s candidate to be the next UN chief.

Kristalina Georgieva, left, and President Rossen Plevneliev.
Kristalina Georgieva, left, and President Rossen Plevneliev.

Plevneliev, who was public works and regional development in the first Borissov government that took office in 2009 and who was elected as head of state in November 2011 elections, took office in 2012 and his term expires in January 2017. He is not standing for re-election. Bulgaria holds the first round of elections to choose a successor as President on November 6.

In the event of Plevneliev resigning ahead of the completion of his term, the constitution provides that the remainder of the term would be served out by the vice-president.



The Sofia Globe staff

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