Correspondent's Choice

This story about Bulgarian commissioner-designate Kristalina Georgieva was published by EurActiv on 4th February 2010.

Bulgarian commissioner-designate Kristalina Georgieva scored high marks at a European Parliament confirmation hearing yesterday (3 February), earning repeated applause from MEPs across party lines and paving the way for the approval of the Barroso II team next week in Strasbourg.

Mixing humour and self-depreciation with passionate political statements, Kristalina Georgieva won the support of the packed Parliament meeting room, with MEPs congratulating her on her success well before the hearing had officially ended.

“For those in need around the world this is the most important portfolio,” Georgieva said, dismissing views that her future field of activity was “less important” than other commissioners’ attributions.

“I will strive to be a strong voice for those in dire need,” she said, pledging to use EU resources effectively and to give visibility to the Union’s actions in earthquake-hit Haiti.

Irony of sorts on Haiti

The quake hit Haiti just two hours after the disappointing performance of Rumiana Jeleva, who had been appointed to Georgieva’s portfolio before being forced to resign amid accusations of conflicts of interest (see ‘Background’).

“Haiti starts from scratch, but not alone. If I am confirmed, it will be my immediate duty to make sure we Europeans bring to Haiti the best our Union has to offer,” Georgieva assured MEPs.

Georgieva answered questions confidently and assuredly, giving both specific details and broad policy ideas.

The procedure sets time limits for questions and answers, but Georgieva did not always take these into account. When she started explaining her ideas for innovative ways of financing large-scale humanitarian crises such as the one in Haiti, her time elapsed and development committee chair Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, France) had to cut her short.

However, Joly was perfectly aware that the audience wanted to hear more. “It is very interesting, but we have to move on,” Joly said with regret, prompting laughs from MEPs.

The Green/EFA group, which had given Jeleva a hard time, this time rushed to congratulate Georgieva, issuing a press release even before the hearing had ended.

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