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MEPs confirm Bulgarian Iliana Ivanova as new commissioner

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Iliana Ivanova takes over as EU Commissioner from Maria Gabriel who stepped down to become Bulgaria’s alternate Prime Minister under a new coalition agreement. The new commissioner on Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth has a short but interesting mandate ahead.

Ivanova comes from the ranks of the center-right GERB party, the party of the former Bulgarian PM, Boyko Borissov. From 2009 to 2012 Ivanova was a Member of the European Parliament. During that period, she served as Vice-chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Vice-chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social crisis. Ending her tenure as MEP, Ivanova has been a member of the European Court of Auditors since 2013.

For her role as the new Commissioner on Innovation, Research and Education she faced off Daniel Lorer, a Bulgarian MP put forward by the government of Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed thought to the European Parliament and the Council to appoint Ivanova.

The job of Commissioner on Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth is two-fold. It takes charge of all the EU’s educational and youth exchange programs like the well-known ERASMUS program but also covers innovation, technology and development.

Main takeaways of Ivanova’s hearing:

  • EU’s research fund – Ivanova stressed the importance of more international research cooperation and access to EU’s research fund which could translate into more money for tech entrepreneurs.
  • Supporting United Kingdom and Switzerland access to Horizon Europe – a program to foster international research collaboration and to pool resources amongst the EU and other European countries. Thought this has been emphasized as one of Ivanova’s main objectives the target in itself would be hard to attain in such a short time since this is more about intergovernmental negotiations than the free will of the Commissioner.
  • Concluding her hearing, keeping finances available yet efficient was stressed amongst Ivanova’s main assets.

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