Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria will be one of the six vice-presidents in Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission. She will have responsibility for the European Union’s budget and its institutions’ human resources. Together with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans who has received the portfolio for Better Regulation, Georgieva will act as the main agent of cohesion and accountability of the commission, which under Juncker’s new structure is more decentralised.
With quite a few former prime ministers and other high-profile politicians on board, Juncker’s team risks lacking a single focus and direction. Georgieva has won the post of Junker’s left, if not right, hand because of her efficiency and experience in large multinational institutions – she was previously vice-president at the World Bank. She was also helped by her independence from the agendas of the larger member states.
The appointment has large public resonance in Bulgaria, where Georgieva’s earlier candidacy for the High Representative position had created tension in the Socialist-led then-ruling coalition. Many at the time accused its leader, the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Sergei Stanishev, of showing insufficient support for Georgieva. Bulgaria and the central and east European member states will doubtless have more prominent space in the new commission, which must also work to solve some of their most pressing issues: energy security as well as jobs and growth in the new digital era.
This article is part of a series of views on the portfolios and the people of the new European Commision, including Josef Janning's article on the importance of the new cluster structure. For the full collection, go here.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of its individual authors.