Bulgaria FM resigns, withdraws EU nomination

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Rumiana Jeleva resigned on Tuesday and withdrew her nomination for European Commissioner.

Bulgaria FM resigns, withdraws EU nomination

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Rumiana Jeleva resigned on Tuesday and withdrew her nomination for European Commissioner in an embarrassment to the European Union's newest and poorest member state.

Jeleva, who tendered her resignation in a letter to Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, had struggled to convince the European Parliament of her competence to serve as humanitarian aid commissioner and to dispel concerns about her business ties.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement that Borisov had proposed Kristalina Georgieva, a World Bank vice president and respected economist, as Bulgaria's nominee instead.

"I ask you to accept my resignation from all positions I hold so that you can do the necessary to withdraw my nomination as Bulgaria's European commissioner," Jeleva said in the letter, published by the foreign ministry.

"I have no hope of getting an impartial and objective assessment (from parliament's development commission) and I am giving Mr Borisov the chance to propose ... a new candidate."

European Parliament officials said the EU legislature would postpone its confirmation vote on the full Commission from Jan. 26 to allow time for a new hearing.

That means the entry into office of the new EU executive, responsible for proposing and enforcing community law, seems bound to slide beyond the planned Feb. 1 start date. The outgoing Commission's term was extended in November, enabling it to take urgent decisions such as on state aid to banks in the financial crisis, but not to initiate new legislation.

Jeleva's withdrawal was a further blow to the image of Bulgaria, which has been dogged by concerns about corruption and organised crime since it joined the Union in 2007.

Jeleva said she believed her name had been cleared after EU lawyers found no discrepancy in her business interests but that she had become a victim of an ill-intentioned campaign and a biased hearing last week.

The European Parliament's legal service was asked to look into her ties to Global Consult Ltd, a Bulgarian privatisation consultancy she once managed, and concluded on Monday there was nothing wrong.

But the Socialist and Green groupings in parliament still have concerns about her qualifications and wanted her replaced.



Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2010, 15:42
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