May 10, 2017 / 9:41 AM / 4 months ago

Bulgaria nominates Euro MP Gabriel as new EU Commissioner

Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Boiko Borisov reacts after being elected in the parliament in Sofia, Bulgaria May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov on Wednesday nominated European Parliament deputy Maria Gabriel, a member of his center-right GERB party, to become the country’s new European commissioner.

She will replace Kristalina Georgieva, who became chief executive officer of the World Bank at the start of the year.

“Thanks to her professional qualities and long experience in the European Parliament, I am convinced that Maria Gabriel will make an important and valuable contribution to the work of the Commission,” Borisov said in a statement.

Borisov discussed the issue of the nomination with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last Friday. Gabriel’s portfolio will be discussed with the commission next week when she will meet Juncker.

Official sources said the 37-year-old was being considered to replace EU Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who vacated that position in January.

Juncker has been looking for a replacement to oversee Oettinger’s portfolio, which Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip has taken over on a temporary basis.

Bulgaria’s interim government, which was in power between January 27 and May 4, refused to nominate a new EU commissioner, saying it should be done by the cabinet formed after the snap election on March 26.

The nomination of Gabriel comes less than seven months before the Balkan state assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

A European deputy since 2009, Gabriel is vice-president of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the parliament.

Georgieva, who unsuccessfully sought the post of United Nations Secretary-General in September, was European commissioner for budget and human resources.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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