Mariya Gabriel, who was number one on the MEP candidate list of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, said that she would resign her European Parliament seat to remain a member of the European Commission.
“I want Bulgaria to fight for a strong portfolio in the next European Commission, which brings benefits to our country and to Europe,” Gabriel said in a television interview just more than a week after the country’s European Parliament elections.
She currently holds the digital economy and society portfolio. Gabriel became a European Commissioner in July 2017 after Kristalina Georgieva stepped down. Georgieva had held the EC’s budget and human resources portfolio.
Gabriel will remain in her EC post until October 31, when the term of office of the Commission expires. However, she said that the process may be delayed because of the large number of parties entering the new European Parliament.
“It is important for the next European Parliament to start operating as quickly as possible to approve the budgets and not have a vacuum,” Gabriel said.
GERB won the largest number, six, of Bulgaria’s 17 European Parliament seats. With Gabriel not taking up her European Parliament seat, Lilyana Pavlova, who was seventh on the GERB EP candidate list, will become an MEP.
“I understood that I am becoming an MEP today, when this decision was taken,” Pavlova said in a June 3 television interview.
Pavlova, a former Cabinet minister whose most recent portfolio was Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, a post scrapped at the end of 2018, said that there was no clear consensus who would hold the top three key positions in the EU – the presidents respectively of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council.
Pavlova said that this meant that Gabriel may be a European Commissioner for more than a few months, as long as the current European Commission remains in place.
Bulgaria needs to be represented by worthy candidates in all European institutions, Pavlova said.