EC President von der Leyen Assigns Innovation and Youth Portfolio to Bulgarian Commissioner-Designate Gabriel
Brussels, September 10 (BTA) - European Commission (EC)
President-elect Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday presented her
team and the new structure of the next European Commission, the
Commission said in a press release.
"Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria) is a current European Commissioner.
She worked with dedication and energy on the digital portfolio,
and is now moving on to create new perspectives for the young
generation (Innovation and Youth portfolio)," the Commission
Speaking in front of journalists, Gabriel congratulated von der Leyen on her bravery to combine into one portfolio the so called golden tirangle - science, business and education. This is a recognition for Bulgaria, Gabriel said, adding that it was important for her that her new portfolio is part of the achievements in the digitital sector.
As a next step, the European Parliament has to give its consent
to the entire College of Commissioners, including the High
Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. This is
preceded by hearings of the Commissioners-designate in the
relevant Parliamentary committees, in line with Parliament's
Rules of Procedure. Once the European Parliament has given its
consent, the European Council formally appoints the European
The new commissioners are expected to take office on November 1,
2019 for a term ending on October 31, 2024.
Also on Tuesday, EC President-elect von der Leyen sent a mission
letter to each of the 26 Commissioners-designate, including
Commissioner-designate for Innovation and Youth Mariya Gabriel.
The mission letter to Gabriel reads that her task in the next
five years will be to harness the EU's potential so as to
"ensure that education, research and innovation help us deliver
on our ambitions and wider objectives". To this end, Gabriel is
expected to: ensure swift agreement on and full implementation
of the future Horizon Europe programme; ensure sufficient
investment flows to disruptive research and breakthrough
innovations, notably through the European Innovation Council;
work with Member States to build a true European Research Area;
ensure that research, policy and economic priorities go hand in
hand; support the objective of tripling the Erasmus+ programme
as part of the next budget; lead the work on making the European
Education Area a reality by 2025; promote excellence and
networking among European universities; focus on digital
literacy and education to close the digital skills gap; and
maximize the potential of EU's exchange programmes to foster
international cooperation in education, research and innovation.
In the area of culture, youth and sport, von der Leyen asks
Gabriel to: ensure the full implementation of the New European
Agenda for Culture; promote creative industries as a catalyst
for innovation, jobs and growth and maximize the potential of an
ambitious Creative Europe Programme; and aim to foster cultural
cooperation as a part of the Union's partnerships with
countries around the world.
Von der Leyen specifies that the mission as outlined in her
letter is not exhaustive or prescriptive.
The letter also informs Gabriel that she will work under the
guidance of the Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for
the Digital Age in matters relating to research and innovation,
and the Vice-President for Protecting our European Way of Life
in matters relating to education, culture, youth and sport.
"You can of course count on my full personal and political
support ahead of your hearing at the European Parliament and
throughout our mandate," the EC President-elect writes at the
end of the letter to Gabriel.
Commenting Gabriel's portfolio, President Rumen Radev said that
he does not rank the European Commission's portfolios based on
the financial volume they contain and how much they will
distribute. According to him, Europe has the ambition of being a
leading factor on the global stage and this is included in all
strategic documents. This cannot happen without innovations and
without the active participation and work with Europe's youth,
the Bulgaria head of State said.
Speaking at a news conference, GERB MP Toma Bikov said that both
education and science are a main priority in Cabinet's
governance programme. "We are happy that we got this portfolio
in the European Commission," he said.
Bulgarian Socialist Party deputy leader Deniza Slateva said that
Gabriel's new portfolio is important within the EU budget,
because it is the third in terms of resources, but is
nevertheless a weaker option for Bulgaria compared to the
initial options of EU Foreign Affairs High Representative and
that of Agriculture.
(BTA Correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov contributed to this story)
RY, IG/DS, MY