Serious doubts have surfaced over the ability of Bulgaria’s nominee to the European Commission to handle the proposed humanitarian aid portfolio.
Sociology professor and current Bulgarian foreign minister Rumiana Jeleva faced a rough ride at her confirmation hearing in the European Parliament. There were also concerns about her business interests.
Hitting back at centre-left pressure against Jeleva, the conservatives objected to Slovakia’s nominee, Maros Sefcovic, for the recruitment, equal opportunities and gender portfolio. His problem was negative remarks (made in 2005)about the Roma.
MEP Joszef Sazjer, a vice-president of the the European People’s Party, drew distinctions:
“Jeleva was victim of a witch hunt, but so far she made it clear that there was nothing behind that. But on the other case (Sefcovic), I don’t think that a member of the Commission, a vice-president of the Commission, can make such a statement which is discriminatory, which is against a whole ethnic group — a very considerable ethnic group, the Roma.”
The Socialists also found Lithuania’s commissioner designate unconvincing. The parliament is screening all 26 designated members of the EU’s executive college. Jose Manuel Barroso will preside, for a second term. A vote on the entire list is due on January 26, but political groups’ opposition to certain individuals could derail the process.