European Commission President proposes Iliana Ivanova as Bulgaria’s next European Commissioner

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on June 28 that she would be proposing Iliana Ivanova to be Bulgaria’s next European Commissioner.

Von der Leyen said that she would be proposing that Ivanova be given the portfolio of Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

That portfolio was held in the Von der Leyen Commission by Maria Gabriel, who resigned from it to become Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the Cabinet elected in Bulgaria on June 6, with the backing of Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition and the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, the two largest groups in the 49th National Assembly.

Ivanova is the candidate put forward by GERB-UDF, while WCC-DB put forward former Innovation Minister Daniel Lorer. Gabriel was elected previously to the European Parliament on a GERB ticket, with GERB being a member of the EU-wide conservative European People’s Party, while WCC-DB, recently formed, is not a member of a group in the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen said, as quoted in a media statement by the European Commission: “Yesterday I interviewed the candidates put forward by the Bulgarian government for the post of Commissioner, Mr Daniel Lorer and Ms Iliana Ivanova.

“Both candidates showed great commitment to the European Union and to the job of Commissioner. They also have relevant experience for this post.

“Following these interviews, I have decided to propose to the Council and the European Parliament the appointment of Ms Ivanova to the post of Commissioner,” Von der Leyen said.

Von der Leyen said that Ivanova has “significant experience on EU matters, having been a member of the European Court of Auditors since 2013. Prior to that, she was a member of the European Parliament, between 2009 and 2012, and a vice chair of the Committee on budgetary control”.

“Her experience is crucial in carrying forward the implementation of the EU’s flagship research programme, Horizon Europe, to enhance the performance of EU’s research spending and achieve a better impact on the ground,” Von der Leyen said.

“I thank Mr Lorer for his application and I wish him well in his future endeavours,” she said.

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.

If confirmed after a hearing in the European Parliament, Ivanova will be a member of the current European Commission until the end of its term of office in late 2024. EU member states go to the polls to elect a new European Parliament in June 2024.

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