European Parliament Confirms Iliana Ivanova as Bulgaria’s Next European Commissioner

The European Parliament (EP) Tuesday approved, 552-27 with 51 abstentions, Iliana Ivanova’s appointment as the next European Commissioner from Bulgaria. Ivanova will be European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth with the EU Council’s support until the European Commission’s term in office ends next autumn.
On September 5, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee and the Culture and Education Committee held a three-hour hearing with Ivanova to assess her suitability to replace Mariya Gabriel, who resigned as EU Commissioner on 15 May to become Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Bulgaria.
After the hearing, both committees gave Ivanova a positive evaluation, a position subsequently confirmed by Parliament’s Conference of Committee Chairs, the Conference of Presidents (EP President Metsola and political group leaders) and the full House on Tuesday.
Ivanova was MEP from 2009 to 2012. Since 2013, she has been Bulgaria’s representative to the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg.
Approached for comment after the EP’s vote on Tuesday, Ivanova expressed the hope that the procedure for her appointment will finish next week. She plans to tender her resignation as Bulgaria’s representative to the European Court of Auditors in the coming days.
Ivanova thanked the MEPs for the support and recognition, especially all Bulgarian MEPs for their assistance during her preparation. “I am proud that we can work so well together,” she added.
There are many tasks and little time, she also told Bulgarian reporters regarding her future responsibilities at the European Commission. “There is a deficit of some EUR 100 billion a year in the funding for innovations in the European Union, if we are to reach the target of 3% of GDP. The USA, Japan, China, and South Korea are ahead of us. We should attract enough private funding,” she argued.
Bulgaria is still at the bottom of the ranking, but efforts are being made, she noted. “I will make all effort for the measures taken to give result and for us to support our researchers, scientific centres, and universities in overcoming this lag,” Ivanova said. She intends to travel to Bulgaria by this month’s end to meet with all institutions, competent ministers, schools and research centres with an interest in the sector.