December 12, 2016
There is not yet an official candidacy from Bulgaria for the replacement of Kristalina Georgieva, who resigned to take a job in the World Bank.
Indeed, Bulgaria is in a political crisis since PM Boyko Borissov resigned. It is not clear when early elections will be held and who will be in charge until then.
Several names for prospective Commissioners started circulating. But as a Commission source told me, MEP Mariya Gabriel is likely to win, as she reportedly is the candidate benefiting from most of the lobbying efforts.
As the support comes from the EPP, the largest force in the EU after the European elections, her nomination is almost a done deal, people in Juncker’s entourage believe.
However, the political balance in Bulgaria appears to have changed since the presidential elections. And Borissov apparently doesn’t have the stomach to nominate a commissioner.
Under EPP pressure Bulgaria nominated Georgieva for UN Secretary General, a move which turned out to be disastrous and ruined the chances of the previous candidate Irina Bokova to get the top job.
Borissov is just angry at his political family.
Moreover, the whole case may turn out to be an embarrassment for the EPP leader Joseph Daul, who is a family friend and a witness to the marriage of the MEP.
In 2012 Maria Nedelcheva married François Gabriel, a close collaborator to Daul. The French politician became witness to their marriage, which in Bulgaria is considered a bond as strong as being family member.
It is doubtful that this time Borissov would follow the EPP advice for the Commissioner nomination. And the EPP should be more careful in order to avoid accusations of cronyism.