Bulgaria nominates Kuneva as its candidate Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Bulgaria is nominating Meglena Kuneva, the country’s first European Commissioner and who formerly has held Cabinet posts, as its candidate Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Deputy Foreign Minister Irena Dimitrova said on January 19.

Kuneva’s candidacy was presented to representatives of diplomatic missions in Sofia that are members of the Council of Europe.

A Foreign Ministry statement said that Dimitrova emphasised the priority attention that Bulgaria pays to human rights issues in international relations.

She highlighted the role of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in maintaining the high standards of this international organisation and ensuring its effective operation.

The government was confident that Kuneva could contribute significantly to the defence of human rights in Europe, Dimitrova said.

The statement said that Kuneva presented her views on the work of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and answered questions from the diplomats.

This is the first time that Bulgaria nominates its own candidate for a senior position in the Council of Europe, the Foreign Ministry said.

Kuneva graduated in law from Sofia University in 1981 and in 1984 got a doctorate in law.

After working as a journalist for public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio, she worked from 1990 to 2001 as a senior legal adviser to the Cabinet. She also specialised in foreign affairs and environmental law at Georgetown University and the University of Oxford.

A founder member of the National Movement Simeon II (later the National Movement for Stability and Progress), Kuneva was elected to Parliament in June 2001, resigning in August that year when she was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister and chief negotiator on Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union.

Kuneva became Minister of European Affairs in May 2002, the first to hold the newly-created post.

In January 2007, when Bulgaria joined the EU, Kuneva became European Commissioner for Consumer Protection.

Having founded to the Bulgaria for Citizens party, Kuneva was elected to Parliament in 2014 before serving as Deputy Prime Minister in the second Boiko Borissov government from November 2014 to January 2017.

(Photo of Kuneva, left, and Dimitrova: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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