President Jean-Claude-Juncker interviewed today Mariya Gabriel, the candidate proposed by the Bulgarian Government as Commissioner to replace former Member of the Commission Kristalina Georgieva. On this basis, President Juncker confirmed the competencies of Mariya Gabriel required under Article 17(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to become candidate for Commissioner and announced his intention to allocate the Digital Economy and Society portfolio to her.
The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society will support the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy that the European Commission adopted in May 2015 and on the basis of which it presented a mid-term review on 10 May. She will contribute to delivering a Digital Single Market helping to lay the groundwork for Europe's digital future with pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups.
A Mission Letter sent today by President Juncker to Mariya Gabriel details her main tasks and responsibilities as Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society.
The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society will contribute to projects steered and coordinated by Vice-President Andrus Ansip in charge of the Digital Single Market and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
President Juncker also informed Prime Minister Borissov of his choice for the portfolio he intends to allocate to Mariya Gabriel.
Procedurally, the new Commissioner of Bulgarian nationality is appointed by the Council of the EU by common accord with the President of the Commission after consultation of the European Parliament (Article 246, subparagraph 2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). In addition, the Interinstitutional Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission foresees that the President of the Commission “seriously considers” the results of the consultation of the European Parliament before giving his accord to the decision of the Council to appoint the new Commissioner (para 6 of the Framework Agreement).
President Juncker is sending today a letter to Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament informing the latter of his intention to allocate to Mariya Gabriel the responsibility for the Digital Economy and Society portfolio. This letter is sent in copy to Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
From the moment the Council formally consults the European Parliament, Mariya Gabriel will be Commissioner-Designate. She will then have the right to draw on the relevant Commission services to prepare for her exchange of views with the European Parliament. Prior to her appointment by the Council, by common accord with the President of the Commission, she will not be taking part in College meetings.
Under Article 17(6) of the Treaty on European Union the right to organise the work of the Commission is a prerogative of its President. Following the decision of former Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva to resign from the European Commission, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger became on 1 January 2017 the Commissioner responsible for Budget and Human Resources, while President Juncker temporarily assigned the Digital Economy and Society portfolio to Vice-President Andrus Ansip. On 10 May, Prime Minister Borissov informed President Juncker of his wish to nominate Mariya Gabriel as the member of the European Commission of Bulgarian nationality.
Following today's interview of Mariya Gabriel and the announcement by President Juncker of the portfolio allocation, the process will now follow Article 246(2) TFEU and point 6 of the Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission.
An exchange of views between Mariya Gabriel and the relevant Committee of the European Parliament is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
Annex 1: Relevant Legal Provisions
Article 17, paragraph 3, subparagraphs 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union
The members of the Commission shall be chosen on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt.
In carrying out its responsibilities, the Commission shall be completely independent. Without prejudice to Article 18(2), the members of the Commission shall neither seek nor take instructions from any Government or other institution, body, office or entity. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties or the performance of their tasks.
Article 246, subparagraph 2, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
A vacancy caused by resignation, compulsory retirement or death shall be filled for the remainder of the Member's term of office by a new Member of the same nationality appointed by the Council, by common accord with the President of the Commission, after consulting the European Parliament and in accordance with the criteria set out in the second subparagraph of Article 17(3) of the Treaty on European Union.
Extract of the relevant provision from the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission:
PART II. POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY
(6) Where it becomes necessary to arrange for the replacement of a Member of the Commission during his/her term of office pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 246 TFEU, the President of the Commission will seriously consider the result of Parliament's consultation before giving accord to the decision of the Council.
Parliament shall ensure that its procedures are conducted with the utmost dispatch, in order to enable the President of the Commission to seriously consider Parliament's opinion before the new Member is appointed.
Similarly, pursuant to the third paragraph of Article 246 TFEU, when the remainder of the Commission's term of office is short, the President of the Commission will seriously consider Parliament's position.
Annex 2: CV of Mariya Gabriel attached