Bulgaria’s two candidates for seat on European Commission named

Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition has named European Court of Auditors member Iliana Ivanova as its candidate to succeed Maria Gabriel on the European Commission, while the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition is nominating MP and former Innovation Minister Daniel Lorer.

Bulgaria’s seat on the European Commission was vacated when Gabriel resigned ahead of becoming part of the government voted into office by GERB-UDF and WCC-DB.

Announcing Ivanova’s candidacy on June 21, Borissov described her as “a very well-known face in Brussels, very competent”.

Ivanova is a former Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis.

She has a master’s degree in International Economic Relations from the University of Economics in Varna and a MBA from the Thunderbird University in Arizona.

Earlier, Lorer confirmed to reporters that he was a candidate to replace Gabriel.

He said that it was possible that Bulgaria would receive the same portfolio that Gabriel had held on the European Commission: Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

The Commission has already expressed the expectation that Bulgaria would nominate a woman.

Lorer, speaking before Borissov’s announcement, said that he would not worried if GERB-UDF nominated a woman.

“It is important to know that (EC President Ursula) von der Leyen’s European Commission started with a ratio of 15 to 12 men to women.

“Halfway through that Commission, Ireland had to replace its Commissioner, who was replaced by a woman, so it became 14 to 13. Now, even if a man is elected as the representative of Bulgaria, this will once again return the Commission to the ratio with which it started”.

Lorer was co-founder and a general partner of BrightCap Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and has experience founding and exiting startups in the IT sector. He has degrees in computer science and business management from Tel Aviv University. He held the innovation portfolio in the Petkov government that was in office from December 2021 to August 2022.

Bulgarian news agency BTA reported Gabriel, now Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, as telling reporters during a visit to Brussels that it was not important whether the next Bulgarian Commissioner will be a man or a woman, but rather that the person had a strong personality.

“We are looking for a candidate who has the qualities and the expertise. Of course, it would be good to have someone who knows the European institutions. It is the choice of the President of the European Commission. The candidate then goes through a complex procedure where all the European parties will have their eyes on him. In my opinion, it will be important for the candidate to represent Bulgaria with dignity, as I believe I have done in the past years,” she said.

Whoever receives Bulgaria’s seat on the Commission will serve until the end of the current EC’s term, in late 2024.

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