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Nomination of next Commissioner for research & education

In mid-June, the incoming Bulgarian government put forward the candidacies of Iliana Ivanova and Daniel Lorer for Bulgaria’s open slot in the college of EU Commissioners. The post became vacant in May, following the resignation of then Commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel, who stepped down to help form the current Bulgarian government, for which she also currently serves as Deputy Prime Minister, on a rotating basis.

The Commissioner post is at present jointly being filled, ad interim, by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas (for Culture, Education and Youth) and by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager (for Innovation and Research).

Regarding the two candidates:

  • Ms Ivanova is 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 and of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis. Her candidacy was supported by the center-right GERB party, to which Mariya Gabriel also belongs.
  • Mr Lorer is a former Minister of Innovation in Bulgaria, with a background in the IT sector. His candidacy was supported by the anti-corruption alliance of parties We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria.

Following interviews held with the two candidates, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, decided on 28 June to nominate Ms Ivanova to the Council and the European Parliament for the post of Commissioner. In presenting her decision, she highlighted that the nominee’s experience will be “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”.

If confirmed after hearings in the ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) and CULT (Culture and Education) Committees of the European Parliament, Ms Ivanova would be a member of the current European Commission until the end of its term of office, in late 2024, following the EU elections, which will take place next year. The timing of the confirmation process is now in the hands of the European Parliament.