Bulgaria’s European Commissioner-designate Maria Gabriel has won unanimous support for her nomination after her hearing by two committees of the European Parliament, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio said on June 21, quoting sources in Brussels.
Gabriel, nominated for the European Commission’s digital economy and society portfolio, appeared at the June 20 hearing in line with EU rules that require MEPs to assess her suitability for appointment to the Commission.
To be approved, she would need the support of two-thirds of MEPs, but ultimately all groups in the European Parliament have backed her nomination in a formal letter following the hearing, BNR said.
Gabriel, an MEP for the past eight years, was nominated in May for the European Commission post, to succeed Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, whose resignation from the Commission took effect at the end of 2016.
At the June 20 hearing, Gabriel told MEPs her main priority as commissioner would be to ensure he successful implementation of existing initiatives.
“A two-year mandate is short and I am fully aware of that,” Gabriel said, adding that she would focus on issues such as the end of roaming charges, the portability of content, the reallocation of spectrum for broadband internet, copyright reform and the wifi4eu initiative, which aims to offer free wi-fi connectivity in public spaces across the EU.
Gabriel, who has been serving as MEP since 2009, said regarding the digital transformation taking place: “We have a revolution ahead of us that we have to take care of.”
She pointed to the loss of jobs, the need for reinvention of business models, gender inequality and the digitalisation of public services as some of the challenges posed by this transformation. EU policy in this field should focus on the benefits for citizens and their rights, she said.
MEPs will vote whether to approve her appointment during the plenary session at the beginning of July 2017. The current European Commission is scheduled to remain in office until 2019.
(Photo: European Parliament)